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Head Neck. 2002 Jan;24(1):56-62.

Hypercalcemia associated with parathyroid hormone-related protein at the terminal stage of uncomplicated squamous cell carcinoma in the head and neck region.

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Second Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Kyushu University, Maidashi 3-1-1, Higashi-ku, Fukuoka 812-8582, Japan.



Parathyroid hormone-related protein (PTHrP) is mainly responsible for hypercalcemia in squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs).


We retrospectively checked the appearance of hypercalcemia among 33 patients who died with head and neck SCC. Serum concentrations of C-terminal region of PTHrP (C-PTHrP) were measured in 15 of them. The intracellular PTHrP expression was immunohistochemically stained in 42 SCC sections obtained from the 33 before the appearance of hypercalcemia.


Hypercalcemia appeared in 24 of the 33, and increased serum C-PTHrP levels were confirmed in 11 of 12 hypercalcemic patients. PTHrP was identified in all SCC sections, and a stronger intensity than in normal squamous epithelia was observed in 50% of those obtained within 1 year before the onset of hypercalcemia.


A high incidence of PTHrP-induced hypercalcemia was shown among patients dying with head and neck SCCs. The intracellular increase in PTHrP might be observed preceding hypercalcemia.

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