Thyroid related
Pentagastrin stimulation test

Topic Completed: 1 March 2011

Revised: 31 December 2018, last major update March 2011

Copyright: (c) 2002-2016,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Pentagastrin stimulation test [title]

Nat Pernick, M.D.
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Page views in 2019 to date: 366
Table of Contents
Laboratory | Interpretation
Cite this page: Pernick N. Pentagastrin stimulation test. website. Accessed September 19th, 2019.

  • Give 0.5 μg/kg body weight of pentagastrin IV over 5 minutes, collect blood at time 0, 1, 2, 5 and 10 minutes and measure calcitonin levels
  • 50 - 100 ng/L indicates possible medullary thyroid carcinoma or other pathology
  • >100 ng/L indicates probable medullary thyroid carcinoma (J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2007;92:450)
  • Baseline or post-pentagastrin values > 10 ng/L indicates C cell pathology in MEN2 or residual tissue in medullary thyroid carcinoma patients after surgery

  • Limitations
  • Adverse effects
    • Substernal discomfort, nausea, vomiting, metallic taste, abdominal cramping, flushing, warmth, urgency, esophageal spasm, tachycardia, headache (Clin Chem 2002;48:1505)
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