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J Med Case Rep. 2009 Aug 4;3:7285. doi: 10.4076/1752-1947-3-7285.

A 60-year-old man with chronic renal failure and a costal mass: a case report and review of the literature.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Hospital Pablo Tobón Uribe Calle 78B No. 69-240, Medellín Colombia.



Brown tumors are a rare focal manifestation of osteitis fibrosa cystica, which results from hyperparathyroidism. Chronic kidney failure may lead to secondary or tertiary hyperparathyroidism and thus to osteitis fibrosa cystica and brown tumors.


A 60-year-old man with a history of diabetes mellitus and chronic kidney failure presented with a 15-day history of dyspnea, cough, malaise and fever. Initially, there was little correlation between his history and his physical examination. Various pulmonary, cardiac and infectious etiologies were ruled out. A chest X-ray showed a costal mass that was further verified by tomography and gammagraphy. The mass was suspected of being neoplastic. After a failed biopsy, the mass was removed surgically and on histopathology was compatible with a giant-cell tumor versus a brown tumor caused by hyperparathyroidism. Laboratory tests showed elevated calcium, phosphate and parathyroid hormone concentrations. The patient was diagnosed with a brown tumor secondary to refractory hyperparathyroidism.


Tending towards a diagnosis because it is more frequent or it implies more risk for the patient may delay the consideration of other diagnostic options that, although rare, fit well into the clinical context. The patient presented here was suspected to have an osseous neoplasia that would have had major implications for the patient. However, reassessment of the case led to the diagnosis of a brown tumor. Brown tumors should be an important diagnostic consideration in patients with chronic kidney failure who have secondary or tertiary hyperparathyroidism and an osseous mass.

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