Parathyroid carcinoma in multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1) syndrome: Two case reports of an unrecognised entity

Departments of Endocrinology, St. Bartholomew's Hospital, William Harvey Research Institute, Queen Mary University of London, London, UK.
Journal of endocrinological investigation (Impact Factor: 1.45). 03/2007; 30(2):145-9. DOI: 10.1007/BF03347413
Source: PubMed


Primary hyperparathyroidism occurs in almost all patients with the syndrome of multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1), but the association of MEN1 with parathyroid carcinoma has only been described previously in a single patient. In this report, we describe two further cases of parathyroid carcinoma presenting in MEN1 syndrome.
The first patient was a 69-yr-old woman, who presented with severe primary hyperparathyroidism and tracheal compression by a large mediastinal mass, which was shown histologically to be a parathyroid carcinoma with a second similar lesion in the neck. She was treated with total parathyroidectomy followed by resection of the mediastinal mass with resolution of the hypercalemia. Remarkably, she also reported primary amenorrhea and was found to have an invasive pituitary lactotroph adenoma, which was treated with cabergoline and external beam radiotherapy. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the pancreas revealed a small lesion characteristic of an islet-cell tumor, which was clinically and biochemically non-functioning. The second patient was a 32-yr-old man who presented with symptomatic hypercalemia and markedly raised serum PTH concentration. Neck exploration revealed two parathyroid glands only. One of the parathyroid glands contained a tumor with fibrous banding, atypical mitoses, extra-capsular extension and moderate Ki 67 staining; features which are highly suggestive of carcinoma. He also had intractable dyspepsia associated with raised serum gastrin concentration. A lesion was localized to the neck of the pancreas by endocopic ultrasound, and a selective arterial calcium stimulation catheter suggested the presence of both a gastrinoma and an insulinoma, although he had no hypoglycemic symptoms. Pituitary MRI was normal. The patient's mother had primary hyperparathyroidism.
This case report describes two further patients in whom parathyroid carcinomas occurred in the context of MEN1, which gives a new insight to the possible presenting phenotype of this condition. Both patients had negative genetic screening for classic MEN1 gene mutation, which may suggest that one or more novel occult mutations may be responsible for this aggressive phenotype.

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