Prevalence of C-cell hyperplasia in patients with normal basal and pentagastrin-stimulated calcitonin

Thyroid. 2000 May;10(5):413-6. doi: 10.1089/thy.2000.10.413.


The prevalence of thyroid C-cell hyperplasia (CCH) was investigated prospectively in 57 patients with normal preoperative pentagastrin-stimulated plasma concentrations of calcitonin (hCT, range, 1-60 pg/mL; normal, 100 pg/mL) who subsequently underwent total thyroidectomy due to thyrotoxicosis (n = 18) or to nodular thyroid disease in the presence (n = 9) or absence (n = 30) of cytological follicular neoplasia. CCH was seen in 28 of 57 (49%) of all patients. CCH was more common in hyperthyroid (12/18 [66%]) than in euthyroid (16/39 [41%] patients. No age- or gender-related differences in the occurrence of CCH was seen. There was no histological evidence of medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) in any patient. CCH classified histologically as neoplastic was encountered in two instances. It was concluded that CCH may be expected in almost 50% of normocalcitonemic patients with various thyroid disorders. Although the potential clinical importance of this histological finding and specifically its neoplastic variety remains unknown, these results are in keeping with the assumption that pentagastrin-stimulated plasma concentrations of hCT within the normal range do not exclude the presence of CCH.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Calcitonin / blood*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperplasia
  • Hyperthyroidism / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pentagastrin / pharmacology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reference Values
  • Thyroid Diseases / pathology*
  • Thyroid Gland / pathology*
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / pathology
  • Thyroid Nodule / pathology
  • Thyrotoxicosis / pathology
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Calcitonin
  • Pentagastrin