What is the role of lab testing in the diagnosis of thyroid cancer?

Updated: May 14, 2020
  • Author: Pramod K Sharma, MD; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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The following laboratory studies may be used to assess patients with suspected thyroid cancer:

  • Serum thyroid-stimulating hormone concentration: Sensitive for hyperthyroidism/hypothyroidism and for evaluation of solitary thyroid nodules

  • Serum calcitonin/pentagastrin-stimulated calcitonin levels: Elevated levels highly suggestive of medullary thyroid carcinoma

  • Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay for germline mutations in the RET proto-oncogene: For diagnosis of familial medullary thyroid carcinoma

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