April 28 (UPI) -- Researchers at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center have created a new prognostic tool to predict the risk of recurrence of parathyroid cancer in patients.
More than half of patients diagnosed with parathyroid cancer develop a recurrence after the first surgical procedure.
"Currently there has been no reliable system to predict who will recur," Dr. Angelica Silva-Figueroa, formerly of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and oncological surgeon at RedSalud Avansalud Clinic in Chile, said in a press release. "What is needed is a prognostic staging system for parathyroid cancer. We do not know which group of patients has an increased risk of relapse at the time of diagnosis."
Researchers analyzed data on patients treated for parathyroid cancer at MD Anderson Cancer Center between 1980 and 2016. They identified 28 patients, out of a sample size of 68 patient records, who developed a recurrence after a follow up of 4.6 years.
The recurrence-free survival rates were 85 percent at one year, 67 percent at two years and 51 percent at 10 years.
Patients with parathyroid cancer have significantly elevated levels of calcium in their blood as well as other abnormal parathyroid hormone levels.
Researchers were able to identify three key prognostic predictors for parathyroid cancer recurrence, which were serum calcium level greater than 15 mg/dL, over 65 years of age and invasion of the tumor into blood vessels.
Those three variables were used to develop the predictive tool and found the two-year recurrence-free survival rate was 93 percent with zero adverse characteristics, 72 percent with one adverse characteristic and 27 percent in those with two adverse characteristics.
"We believe that this scoring system is the first step in personalized cancer care," Silva-Figueroa said. "The system may help physicians predict the clinical progression of this disease, reliably aid immediate postoperative treatment decisions, and guide clinical monitoring for progression."
The study was published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.