Metachronous spread of parathyroid carcinoma to a retropharyngeal lymph node

Justin B. Rufener, James I. Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background. Parathyroid carcinoma is rare and accounts for approximately 1% of patients with hyperparathyroidism. It is a slowly progressive disease with frequent recurrence and high incidence of local metastasis. Because of the rarity of this tumor, little is known about the pattern of lymph node metastasis. Methods. A case of retropharyngeal lymph node metastasis found 2 years after initial diagnosis of parathyroid carcinoma is presented and discussed. Results. A 67-year-old man initially was seen with asymptomatic hypercalcemia, and a 1.7-cm mass was removed along with the left hemithyroid. The mass was found to be parathyroid carcinoma. Serum calcium was again elevated 1 year later, and left neck lymph node dissection revealed an upper jugular lymph node containing parathyroid carcinoma. The patient continued to have an elevated serum calcium level, and a retropharyngeal lymph node was found by MRI and removed the following year. The patient is now without evidence of hyperparathyroidism of or recurrent disease at 2-year follow-up. Conclusions. Persistent parathyroid carcinoma is often a clinical challenge because of the difficulty in localizing recurrent tumor. Retropharyngeal lymph nodes should be considered as a possible site of metastasis in patients with parathyroid carcinoma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)968-971
Number of pages4
JournalHead and Neck
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2003


  • Carcinoma
  • Lymph nodes
  • Parathyroid
  • Primary hyperparathyroidism
  • Recurrence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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