29. Parathyroid adenoma

Last updated on April 19, 2019 at 21:19

Staining: HE

Organ: Parathyroid


The tumor is encapsulated. It is comprised of two types of cells:

  • Chief cells – pale cytoplasm
  • Oxyphilic cells – eosinophilic cytoplasm

The tumor cells show no atypia as this is a benign tumor. The tumor forms no structures. It also contains no adipose tissue, unlike the normal parathyroid gland.

Diagnosis: Parathyroid adenoma


  • Sporadic
  • Multiple endocrine neoplasia (MEN)


Parathyroid adenoma must be differentiated from parathyroid hyperplasia and parathyroid carcinoma during histological examination. Parathyroid adenoma has a rim of normal parenchyme surrounding it. If this was PTH hyperplasia no normal parenchyme would be seen. Also, in PTH adenoma is only one PTH gland enlarged while in hyperplasia all glands are enlarged.

The only thing that can differentiate parathyroid adenoma and carcinoma is the presence of metastasis; these two tumors look similar on histology.

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8 thoughts on “29. Parathyroid adenoma”

      1. In theoretical exam topic 44 you wrote «They’re comprised of chief cells, eosinophilic cells that produce PTH, and oxyphil cells.». Also the teacher said this in class😅 maybe he mixed it up..

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