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Surg Oncol. 1999 Nov;8(3):155-65.

Parathyroid cancer: biology and management.

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The Department of Surgery, Auckland Hospital, Private Bag, Auckland, New Zealand.


A review of all reports in the literature of parathyroid carcinoma (PTC) was undertaken to define an optimal management strategy for this rare condition. PTC is uncommon and its etiology of PTC is largely unknown although patients with familial hyperparathyroidism, multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 and irradiation to the head and neck are at increased risk for developing the disease. PTC occurs with equal frequency in both sexes and is usually diagnosed in the fifth decade. En bloc resection of the carcinoma and the adjacent structures in the neck is the surgical treatment and is associated with an 8% local recurrence rate and a long term overall survival rate of 89% (mean follow up 69 months). In contrast simple parathyroidectomy results in a 51% local recurrence rate and 53% long-term survival rate (mean follow up 62 months). Adverse prognostic factors for survival were initial management with simple parathyroidectomy alone, the presence of nodal or distant metastatic disease at presentation and non-functioning PTC.

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