Published on August 5, 2015
Dr. Susan Leclair discusses calcium values and its role in diagnosing non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Dr. Leclair unpacks the function of calcium in the body. She explains that it’s needed to control the way cells interact with each other, develop strong bones and regulate pH. Calcium is critically vital inside the cells, because it allows certain enzyme processes to take place. Looking at a disease that causes cell damage, due either to excessive cell death or an inflammatory process, will cause calcium to show up in the peripheral blood. However, in specific regards to Hodgkin's and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a lot of cell turnover is primarily detected in the lymph nodes and not in the blood.
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Transcript | Do Calcium Values Help Diagnose Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma?
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This is a question from Pam. What role does calcium values—or do calcium values play in diagnosing non-Hodgkin lymphoma?
Calcium values looked at can be looked all differently at different times. Calcium is needed to control the way cells interact with each other. Calcium is used to make your bones strong. Calcium is used to regulate your pH and other entities in the blood, so it's a supporter on that kind of stuff. Calcium is necessary inside the cells in order to allow certain enzyme processes to go on. So calcium values can reflect changes in any of those.
When you're looking at a disease that a has a lot of cell damage, a lot of cell death to it, whether because the cells are trying to mature and can't and just kind of die out, or whether there is some kind of that basic inflammatory process that's going on where they're being attacked by something, you get a lot of—when you get a lot of cell death like that, you get more calcium out in the peripheral blood than you should because those cells are dying off.
So in both Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphoma you've got a lot of cell turnover that's happening typically in the nodes, not very often in the bloodstream, and so what you're seeing with the changes in calcium there reflect the damage that's being done in the lymph nodes, the ones that you know you can pick up and see.