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April 1969

Thyrocalcitonin Activity in Metastatic Medullary Thyroid Carcinoma: Further Evidence for its Parafollicular Cell Origin

Author Affiliations


From the Lahey Clinic Foundation; the departments of medicine (Dr. Dubé) and surgery (Dr. Aliapoulios), Harvard Medical School; and the department of sur-; gery, Peter Bent Brigham Hospital (Dr. Aliapoulios), Boston.

Arch Intern Med. 1969;123(4):423-427. doi:10.1001/archinte.1969.00300140069015

The distinctive histologic entity, medullary (solid) carcinoma of the thyroid,1 has attracted much attention lately because of the diverse endocrinologic syndromes with which it may be associated. Several authors have pointed out the coincidental finding of bilateral pheochromocytoma,2,3 parathyroid adenoma,4 the carcinoid syndrome,5 Cushing's syndrome,6 and diabetes mellitus3 in patients with medullary carcinoma of the thyroid or in their immediate relatives or in both. However, the full endocrine potential of this neoplasm is only now becoming clear with the recent observations that the tumor tissue itself may be the site of elaboration of various humoral substances, namely, serotonin,7 prostaglandins,8 and thyrocalcitonin.9

Thyrocalcitonin (calcitonin) activity in the human thyroid gland was demonstrated by Aliapoulios et al,10 and subsequent evidence11,12 indicated that the parafollicular cell may be the site of its production. Because the histologic features of medullary carcinoma of the