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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter July 14, 2021

Procalcitonin measured by three different assays is an excellent tumor marker for the follow-up of patients with medullary thyroid carcinoma

  • Jürgen Kratzsch EMAIL logo , Anja Willenberg , Karin Frank-Raue , Uwe Kempin , Jörg Rocktäschel and Friedhelm Raue



Procalcitonin (PCT) has been suggested as a tumor marker in patients with medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC). Clinical application data in long term follow-up are missing.


210 serum samples of 169 consecutive patients with MTC (92 sporadic, 77 hereditary, 158 postoperative follow-up, 11 preoperative) were collected between 2018 and 2020. Postoperative patients were stratified into three groups according to their disease status at the end of follow-up: cured (n=51, calcitonin (CT) levels < limit of quantitation), minimal residual disease (n=55, detectable CT and no metastases provable by imaging methods), metastatic disease (n=52). In five patients CT and PCT were measured while on therapy with tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI). CT was analyzed by the Roche ECLIA, PCT by three assays from Roche, PES, Abbott.


The mean ± SD values seen with the three PCT assays in the MTC response groups, cured: <0.06, 0.016 ± 0.007, 0.014 ± 0.007 ng/mL, minimal residual disease: 0.511 ± 0.800, 0.389 ± 0.687, 0.341 ± 0.614 ng/mL, metastatic disease 109 ± 202, 60.4 ± 110, 63.3 ± 115 ng/mL correlate well with the CT results in these groups: cured <1.0 pg/mL, minimal residual disease 91.3 ± 121.5 pg/mL, metastatic disease 14,489 ± 30,772 pg/mL. There was a significant correlation (p<0.001) between the three PCT assays (Roche/PES r=0.970, Roche/Abbott r=0.976, Abbott/PES r=0.995). In the course of treatment with TKI both CT and PCT reflected clinical state. Preoperative PCT in hereditary MTC has the same diagnostic validity than CT.


PCT measured with three different immunoassays is as good as the standard tumor marker CT in the follow-up of MTC but has a superior analytical stability.

Corresponding author: Prof. Jüergen Kratzsch, Institute for Laboratory Medicine, Clinical Chemistry and Molecular Diagnostics, University Hospital Leipzig, University of Leipzig, Paul-List-Str. 13/15, 04103 Leipzig, Germany, Phone: +49 1739044771, E-mail:

  1. Research funding: None declared.

  2. Author contributions: All authors have accepted responsibility for the entire content of this manuscript and approved its submission.

  3. Competing interests: Authors state no conflict of interest.

  4. Informed consent: Informed consent was obtained from all individuals included in this study.

  5. Ethical approval: The study was approved by the Ethics Committee of the University of Heidelberg (S-003/2015).


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Supplementary Material

The online version of this article offers supplementary material (

Received: 2021-04-12
Accepted: 2021-06-29
Published Online: 2021-07-14
Published in Print: 2021-10-26

© 2021 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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