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Nonfunctional parathyroid carcinoma

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Nonfunctional parathyroid carcinoma (PTC) is one of the rarest malignant diseases and only nine cases have been reported during the last 23 years. We present a case of nonfunctioning PTC and review the literature in an effort to provide a better understanding of this rare disorder.


One patient with nonfunctioning PTC was presented, detailing the clinical features, histologic findings, diagnosis, and treatment. Together with data from the other nine cases reported last 23 years, the related literature is also reviewed.


The presented case was a 47-year-old man with a 2-month history of an enlarging painless cervical mass followed by a 2-week history of hoarseness. Clinical and laboratory evaluations failed to reveal evidence of hyperparathyroidism. Pathological analysis of the resected tumor disclosed findings consistent with PTC. The nonsecretory state of the tumor was further supported by immunoreactivity for parathyroid hormone in tissue, and normal serum levels of this peptide and calcium preoperatively and postoperatively.


Most nonfunctional PTC is detected late due to a paucity of symptoms, of which a palpable neck mass is the most common. Patients with nonfunctioning PTC appear to have a poorer prognosis than do those with functioning parathyroid cancers.

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All of the authors claim that no competing financial interests exist.

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Correspondence to Qiang Wang.

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Gao, W.C., Ruan, C.P., Zhang, J.C. et al. Nonfunctional parathyroid carcinoma. J Cancer Res Clin Oncol 136, 969–974 (2010).

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