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Cancer. 1996 Oct 1;78(7):1384-7.

Tumor-induced hypercalcemia and parathyroid hormone-related protein in lung carcinoma.

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1
Department of Chest Surgery, National Kyushu Cancer Center, Fukuoka, Japan.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Although lung carcinoma is the most common cause of tumor-induced hypercalcemia (TIH), the precise incidence of TIH remains obscure. Furthermore, the role of parathyroid hormone-related protein (PTHrP) has not been clearly elucidated.

METHODS:

This study included 690 consecutive patients who were newly diagnosed as having lung carcinoma between 1989 and 1994 (379 adenocarcinomas, 207 squamous cell carcinomas, 75 small cell carcinomas, and 29 large cell carcinomas). All patients were treated for lung carcinoma and were also periodically monitored for their serum level of calcium (Ca). Hypercalcemia was defined as a serum Ca concentration higher than 11 mg/dL. The serum levels of PTHrP (109-141) were measured by a C-terminal-region-specific radioimmunoassay.

RESULTS:

TIH was observed in 17 of 690 patients (2.5%). All 17 patients demonstrated an advanced stage of lung carcinoma (Stage III or IV), 10 squamous cell carcinomas, 5 adenocarcinomas, 1 small cell carcinoma, and 1 large cell carcinoma. In 15 patients, the serum level of C-PTHrP (109-141) was substantially high, ranging from 99 pmol/L to 890 pmol/L (normal range, 21-50.7 pmol/L). There was no significant difference in the serum PTHrP level between patients with or without bone metastasis. The reduction of tumor burden decreased both the serum level of PTHrP and that of Ca in parallel. The median survival time after diagnosis of TIH was only 27 days.

CONCLUSIONS:

TIH in lung carcinoma was most likely attributable to PTHrP, and its occurrence appears to be an ominous prognostic sign.

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