Challenges and Pitfalls in the Management of Parathyroid Carcinoma: 17-Year Follow-Up of a Case and Review of the Literature

Janneke E. Witteveen, Harm R. Haak, Job Kievit, Hans Morreau, Johannes A. Romijn, Neveen A. T. Hamdy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle*Academicpeer-review


A 29-year-old man presented to his primary care physician with nausea, severe weight loss and muscle weakness. He had a hard, fixed neck swelling. He was severely hypercalcaemic with 10-fold increased parathyroid hormone (PTH) concentrations. A diagnosis of primary hyperparathyroidism was established and the patient was referred for parathyroidectomy. At neck exploration, an enlarged parathyroid gland with invasive growth into the thyroid gland was found and removed, lymph nodes were cleared and hemithyroidectomy was performed. A suspected diagnosis of parathyroid carcinoma was confirmed histologically. Serum calcium and PTH levels normalised post-operatively, but hyperparathyroidism recurred within 3 years of surgery. Over the following 17 years, control of hypercalcaemia represented the most difficult challenge despite variable success achieved with repeated surgical interventions, embolisations, radiofrequency ablation of metastases and treatment with calcimimetics, bisphosphonates and haemodialysis using low-dialysate calcium. In this paper, we report the challenges and pitfalls we encountered in the management of our patient over nearly two decades of follow-up and review recent literature on the topic
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)205-214
JournalHormones & cancer
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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