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Parathyroid cancer

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Treatment of metastatic parathyroid cancer

The following are treatment options for metastatic parathyroid cancer. The types of treatments given are based on the unique needs of the person with cancer.


Surgery may be offered for metastatic parathyroid cancer to remove:

  • local metastases in the neck or lymph nodes
  • distant metastases from the lungs, liver or bones

Supportive therapy

Supportive therapy may be offered for metastatic parathyroid cancer. Supportive therapy to treat hypercalcemia is given to:

  • bring calcium in the blood to normal levels before surgery
  • control hypercalcemia in people with disease that cannot be removed by surgery (unresectable disease)

Cinacalcet is a medication used alone or with other drugs to treat hypercalcemia in recurrent or metastatic parathyroid cancer (it is not used to treat other forms of hypercalcemia). This drug is in a class of medications called calcimimetics. It works by signalling the body to produce less parathyroid hormone, which in turn decreases the amount of calcium in the blood.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy may be offered for metastatic parathyroid cancer. External beam radiation therapy may be given for:

  • local metastases in the neck (if surgery is not an option)
  • distant metastases to the lungs, liver or bones


Chemotherapy may be offered for metastatic parathyroid cancer when the cancer cannot be completely removed by surgery. The types of chemotherapy are:

  • dacarbazine (DTIC) alone
  • drug combinations
    • 5-fluorouracil (Adrucil, 5-FU), cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan, Procytox) and paclitaxel (Taxol)
    • 5-fluorouracil, cyclophosphamide and dacarbazine

Clinical trials

People with parathyroid cancer may be offered the opportunity to participate in clinical trials. For more information, go to clinical trials.


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