What is the role of thyroid function studies in the workup of papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC)?

Updated: Jun 18, 2020
  • Author: Ponnandai S Somasundar, MD, MPH, FACS; Chief Editor: Neetu Radhakrishnan, MD  more...
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Perform a complete assessment of thyroid function in any patient with thyroid nodules. No available blood tests are specific for papillary cancer of the thyroid. Higher-than-normal levels of thyroxine (reference range is 4.5-12.5 mcg/dL), triiodothyronine (reference range is 100-200 ng/dL), and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) (reference range is 0.2-4.7 mIU/dL) may or may not be associated with thyroid cancer.

If the TSH level is low, thyroid scintigraphy is indicated. If the scan reveals an autonomously functioning (hot) nodule, the patient should undergo evaluation for thyrotoxicosis, as malignancy is rare in such cases. [8]

Evaluate serum levels of thyroglobulin. Calcium and calcitonin may be elevated in medullary carcinoma of the thyroid.

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