There is a significant association between the infiltrating range, diameter, calcification, blood flow, metastasis, and serum levels of calcitonin in medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC), according to a new study published in Disease Markers.

The team, led by Ning Li from the Department of General Surgery at the First People’s Hospital of Yongkang in China, developed a metastasis risk-prediction model based on clinical data from 95 patients with MTC, which they said “showed great accuracy in determining the risk of metastasis” and had “excellent clinical utilization potential.”

The researchers mined biological pathways in which the CALCA gene, which encodes calcitonin, is involved using the integrated database analysis of The Cancer Genome Atlas and Genotype-Tissue Expression. This way, they identified calcitonin-related genes and analyzed their function, since calcitonin is an important clinical marker for the specific diagnosis of MTC.

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They found that CALCA was highly expressed in thyroid cancer tissues. It was also associated with the interaction of cytokine with its receptor and of the neuroactive ligand with its receptor and cell-adhesion molecules.

The researchers also found that the CNTFR, CD27, GDF6, and TSLP genes that are involved in the pathways associated with the interaction of cytokines with their receptors could be indicative of metastasis risk in MTC.

“The preoperative serum calcitonin level, in combination with ultrasonographic features, can be used to predict the risk of metastasis in patients with MTC,” they wrote. This, they said, could be a promising diagnostic method for the disease, which is both noninvasive and accurate.

Even though MTC only constitutes 1% to 2% of all types of thyroid cancer, it accounts for 13% of all deaths related to thyroid cancer. The metastasis of the carcinoma to the cervical lymph nodes is a factor that is associated with low survival.


Fan Y, Xu H, Lv M, Li N. Preoperative serum calcitonin level and ultrasonographic characteristics predict the risk of metastatic medullary thyroid carcinoma: functional analysis of calcitonin-related genes. Dis Markers. Published online March 2, 2022. doi:10.1155/2022/9980185