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Bone. 2004 May;34(5):905-11.

Resolution of severe, adolescent-onset hypophosphatemic rickets following resection of an FGF-23-producing tumour of the distal ulna.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.


Oncogenic hypophosphatemic osteomalacia (OHO) is an uncommon hypophosphatemic syndrome characterized by bone pain, proximal muscle weakness and rickets. It has been postulated that OHO results from overproduction of a humoral phosphaturic factor by an occult tumour. Recently, some OHO tumours have been shown to elaborate fibroblast growth factor-23 (FGF-23), which causes renal phosphate wasting when administered to mice. The purpose of this study was to undertake detailed investigations to confirm the diagnosis of OHO in a pediatric patient and to document the biochemical, radiographic and bone histological phenotype before and after tumour removal. We describe an 11-year-old, previously healthy girl with significant pain and functional disability associated with hypophosphatemic rickets. Circulating 1,25-(OH)(2) vitamin D was very low (14 pM; N: 40-140) while the FGF-23 serum level was markedly elevated [359.5 reference units (RU)/ml, N: 33-105]. An iliac bone biopsy revealed severe osteomalacia, but periosteocytic lesions, as are typical for X-linked hypophosphatemic rickets, were not seen. Sequence analyses of the PHEX and FGF23 genes were normal. A radiographic skeletal survey revealed a small exostosis of the left, distal ulnar metaphysis. A tumour was subsequently removed from this site and the pathology was consistent with benign, fibro-osseous tissue. Serum FGF-23 was normal when measured at 7 h post-operatively, while serum phosphate reached the low-normal range at 16 days following surgery. An iliac bone biopsy taken 5 months after the operation showed improvement, but not yet resolution, of the osteomalacia. Biochemical parameters of bone and mineral metabolism suggested that complete resolution of the osteomalacia was not achieved until 12 months following surgery. One year after tumour removal, the patient was pain-free and had resumed a normal level of activity. The rapid normalization of FGF-23 levels following removal of a benign tumour and the subsequent improvement in the biochemical and histological parameters of bone and mineral metabolism suggest that FGF-23 played a key role in this girl's disease.

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