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Am J Kidney Dis. 1999 Nov;34(5):E20.

Hyperuricemia and renal insufficiency associated with malignant disease: urate oxidase as an efficient therapy?

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Department of Medicine, Division of Nephrology and Osteology, and the Division of Oncology and Hematology, University of Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany.


Hyperuricemia is a common finding in patients with malignant diseases. Chemotherapy can induce life-threatening tumor lysis syndrome with severe hyperuricemia, other metabolic abnormalities, and acute renal failure. Intrarenal precipitation of uric acid contributes to renal insufficiency in this situation. Allopurinol, by preventing the conversion of hypoxanthine and xanthine to uric acid, has been long considered the standard pharmacological approach to hyperuricemia and prevention of tumor lysis syndrome. However, allopurinol itself may facilitate precipitation of xanthine crystals and has little influence on already-formed uric acid crystals deposited in the kidney. Urate oxidase further oxidizes uric acid to the highly water-soluble allantoin in mammals, except humans, who lack this enzyme. We report four cases of hyperuricemia (initial serum uric acid concentrations, 14.0 to 25.0 mg/dL) associated with malignant diseases treated with exogenous urate oxidase. Two of the patients showed full-blown tumor lysis syndrome. A single urate oxidase infusion (1,000 U) readily reduced serum uric acid levels in all patients. Furthermore, renal insufficiency, determined by serum creatinine concentrations, improved in three of the four patients. No adverse effects were observed. Currently, a recombinant urate oxidase is undergoing clinical testing and may make this efficient therapy more widely available. We believe that treatment with urate oxidase is a safe and efficient therapy for patients with cancer-associated hyperuricemia and may be effective even in individuals with only moderately elevated serum uric acid concentrations.


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