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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

A patient of primary hyperparathyroidism with full-blown bone changes simulating malignancy.

The two most common causes of hypercalcemia are malignancy and primary hyperparathyroidism (1 degree HPT). The radiographic presentations and the histological findings on bone biopsy are important for differential diagnosis of underlying diseases. We report a patient with hypercalcemia who presented unusual bone manifestations. A 43 y/o woman was admitted due to right femoral fracture. X-ray on the right tibia revealed several osteolytic cystic lesions with sclerotic rims. Blood biochemistry showed anemia, impaired renal function and hypercalcemia. Multiple osteolytic lesions on the skull and bilateral forearms were also noted. Malignancy, such as multiple myeloma or metastatic cancer was suspected. However, this was excluded because of the absence of M-component on serum protein electrophoresis and the negative finding of plasma cells or other malignant cell on bone biopsy examination. Abdominal sonography demonstrated bilateral medullary nephrocalcinosis. The final diagnosis of 1 degree HPT was made, based on the findings of classic pathological pictures (brown tumor) and the markedly elevated intact parathyroid hormone (1267.4 pg/ml) level. Sonography on the neck and 201Tl/99mTc parathyroid subtraction scan localized a left lower parathyroid tumor and fine needle aspiration confirmed the parathyroid origin. Diagnosis of 1 degree HPT could only be made from recurrent urolithiasis and X-ray picture of osteitis fibrosa cystica in the past. This patient presented the full-blown skeletal changes which are uncommonly seen nowadays. The characteristic sclerotic rims suggesting increased bone formation provides a further important clue for differential diagnosis of 1 degree HPT from other malignancies with osteolytic bone lesions.[1]


  1. A patient of primary hyperparathyroidism with full-blown bone changes simulating malignancy. Chuang, T.C., Chang, J.M., Hwang, S.J., Hsiao, P.J., Lai, Y.H. The Kaohsiung journal of medical sciences. (1998) [Pubmed]
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