Prognosis

Patients with parathyroid carcinoma represent a heterogenous group. Some patients are "cured" for as long as a decade or more, whereas some with aggressive tumors experience recurrence early, with both local and distant spread. Of 40 patients with metastatic disease monitored over a median period of 7 years, 20 (50%) were still alive after 5 years and 14 (35%) after 8 years.16 Lifetime monitoring of patients with parathyroid carcinoma, with periodic measurement of serum calcium levels, is therefore advised. On the basis of histopathologic findings and biologic markers such as DNA ploidy and S phase, additional information about the prognosis can be obtained. With the rapid developments in molecular biology and cytogenetics, there is still hope for the development of discriminating markers and specifically designed anticancer drug therapy that might reduce the need for repeated surgery, with its associated morbidity.

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