Sofiya Milman, Jeffrey L. Arnold, Melissa Price, Abdissa Negassa, Martin I. Surks, Norman Fleischer, Kathleen D. Whitney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: Presently, no clinical tools are available to diagnose the metastatic potential of medullary thyroid cancer (MTC) at disease presentation. Surveillance with calcitonin (Ct) and carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) is currently recommended for the observation and diagnosis of metastatic disease after initial treatment of MTC. Recently, carbohydrate antigen (CA)19-9 staining has been associated with aggressive forms of MTC and metastatic spread. This pilot study explored whether positive CA19-9 staining of MTC tissue is associated with its metastatic potential.

METHODS: Sixteen cases of MTC were identified, and tissue specimens were immunostained for CA 19-9 and other MTC tumor markers. Clinical information about patients' MTC was collected through a retrospective chart review.

RESULTS: Overall, 63% of the specimens stained positive for CA19-9. The median size of positively staining specimens was 2.6 cm (interquartile range [IQR] 1.2-3.2) compared to 0.7 cm (0.5-1.2) in negatively staining MTC specimens (P = .04). All specimens from patients diagnosed with stage IV MTC stained positive for CA19-9, compared to only 40% of cases that were classified as stages I to III (P = .03). Furthermore, 100% of the primary specimens that were documented to have metastatic spread stained positive for CA19-9. The sensitivity for ruling out stage IV MTC based on negative staining for CA 19-9 was 100%.

CONCLUSION: Based on these results, we conclude that negative staining of MTC for CA19-9 may be associated with its decreased metastatic potential.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)590-594
Number of pages5
JournalEndocrine practice : official journal of the American College of Endocrinology and the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology

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