Lipoadenoma of the Parathyroid Gland: Characterization of an Institutional Series Spanning 28 Years

Endocr Pathol. 2020 Jun;31(2):156-165. doi: 10.1007/s12022-020-09616-3.


Parathyroid lipoadenomas (PLAs) are rare tumors, and case descriptions are limited, < 80 to date. As a consequence, scarce information regarding the etiology of these enigmatic lesions is available. We searched our departmental pathology database for PLAs diagnosed between 1992 and 2020, reexamined the histology of each case, and recorded clinical parameters from the patients' medical charts. As the diagnostic criteria of this lesion vary over this time period, we defined PLA as an enlarged parathyroid gland with > 50% fat on histologic examination with preoperative evidence of primary hyperparathyroidism (PHPT). A total of 8 bona fide PLA cases and 2 equivocal PLAs (close to 50% fat) were included. As approximately 4000 conventional parathyroid adenomas were diagnosed at our department during the same time interval, the prevalence of PLA was 0.20%. PLA patients were predominately female (63%) and presented with classical PHPT-related symptoms. Majority of cases were successfully located preoperatively and had an average tumor weight of 445 mg. Histologically, all PLAs consisted of > 50% mature adipose tissue, except a single case with brown fat. Of note, PLA patients exhibited a body mass index in line with PHPT patients in general, but a relatively high, near-significant prevalence of arterial hypertension was observed when compared to tumors with less fat (P = 0.0584). Future studies on this finding might be warranted. To summarize, we present one of the largest institutional PLA case series to date, and conclude that PLAs are rare, sporadic tumors mirroring many clinical aspects of conventional adenomas-with a potential coupling to hypertension worthy of follow-up studies.

Keywords: Case series; Hyperparathyroidism; Lipoadenoma; Parathyroid.

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma / pathology*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lipoma / pathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parathyroid Neoplasms / pathology*