Carcinoma of the parathyroid gland: a 30-year experience.
Eleven patients with parathyroid carcinoma and 186 patients with parathyroid adenoma were seen between 1958 and 1990. Significant differences (p less than 0.01) were found between the two groups in calcium and parathormone levels, lesion size, presence of palpable mass, and severity of clinical presentation. Initial operative management consisted of parathyroidectomy alone in three patients, all of whom experienced recurrence of disease. Of the eight patients who underwent aggressive surgical management (parathyroidectomy and resection of thyroid or thymus), only one experienced recurrence. Three of the four patients with recurrence underwent multiple thoracic and cervical procedures for control of disease; one patient was treated with medical therapy alone. The mean survival in the surgical group was 17 years; the patient treated with medical therapy survived 10 years. In all four patients, however, treatment was palliative rather than curative. We conclude that patients with primary hyperparathyroidism characterized by markedly elevated serum calcium and parathormone, palpable mass, and severe clinical presentation should be suspected of harboring a parathyroid carcinoma. An aggressive initial surgical approach was considered in these patients. This experience emphasizes the importance of aggressive surgical extirpation in reducing disease recurrence and also for palliation and prolongation of life when recurrence does occur.
Shortell, CK; Andrus, CH; Phillips, CE; Schwartz, SI
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