Inactivating mutations of the CDC73 tumor suppressor gene have been reported in parathyroid carcinomas (PC), in association with the loss of nuclear expression of the encoded protein, parafibromin. The aim of this study was to further investigate the role of the CDC73 gene in PC and evaluate whether gene carrier status and/or the loss of parafibromin staining might have an effect on the outcome of the disease. We performed genetic and immunohistochemical studies in parathyroid tumor samples from 35 patients with sporadic PC. Nonsense or frameshift CDC73 mutations were detected in 13 samples suitable for DNA sequencing. Six of these mutations were germline. Loss of parafibromin expression was found in 17 samples. The presence of the CDC73 mutation as well as the loss of parafibromin predicted a high likelihood of subsequent recurrence and/or metastasis (92.3%, P=0.049 and 94.1%, P=0.0017 respectively), but only the latter was associated with a decreased overall 5- and 10-year survival rates (59%, P=0.107, and 23%, P=0.0026 respectively). The presence of both the CDC73 mutation and loss of parafibromin staining compared with their absence predicted a lower overall survival at 10- (18 vs 84%, P=0.016) but not at 5-year follow-up. In conclusion, loss of parafibromin staining, better than CDC73 mutation, predicts the clinical outcome and mortality rate. The added value of CDC73 mutational analysis is the possibility of identifying germline mutations, which will prompt the screening of other family members.