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Definition Return to top
PTH-related protein is a blood test that measures the amount of a protein molecule similar to parathyroid hormone.
How the Test is Performed Return to top
Blood is typically drawn from a vein, usually from the inside of the elbow or the back of the hand. The site is cleaned with germ-killing medicine (antiseptic). The health care provider wraps an elastic band around the upper arm to apply pressure to the area and make the vein swell with blood.
Next, the health care provider gently inserts a needle into the vein. The blood collects into an airtight vial or tube attached to the needle. The elastic band is removed from your arm.
Once the blood has been collected, the needle is removed, and the puncture site is covered to stop any bleeding.
In infants or young children, a sharp tool called a lancet may be used to puncture the skin and make it bleed. The blood collects into a small glass tube called a pipette, or onto a slide or test strip. A bandage may be placed over the area if there is any bleeding.
How to Prepare for the Test Return to top
No special preparation is necessary.
How the Test Will Feel Return to top
When the needle is inserted to draw blood, some people feel moderate pain, while others feel only a prick or stinging sensation. Afterward, there may be some throbbing.
Why the Test is Performed Return to top
This test is done to determine whether high blood calcium levels are caused by increase in PTH-related protein.
PTH-related protein is produced by some cancers, including lung, breast, leukemia, and lymphoma. High levels of PTH-related protein are the cause of high calcium levels in about two-thirds of cancer patients.
Normal Results Return to top
No detectable (or minimal) PTH-like protein is normal. Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.
What Abnormal Results Mean Return to top
Increased levels of PTH-related protein in a patient with high blood calcium levels generally means that cancer is the underlying cause.
Risks Return to top
References Return to top
Liao J, McCauley LK. Skeletal metastasis: established and emerging roles of parathyroid hormone related protein (PTHrP). Cancer Metastasis Res. 2006;25(4):559-571.
Strewler GJ. The parathyroid hormone-related protein. Endocrinol Metab Clin North Am. 2000;29:629-645.Update Date: 10/24/2007 Updated by: Robert Hurd, MD, Professor of Endocrinology, Department of Biology, Xavier University, Cincinnati, OH, and physician in the Primary Care Clinic, Cincinnati Veterans Administration Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.