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J Clin Oncol. 1997 Jan;15(1):131-8.

Evaluation of new bone resorption markers in a randomized comparison of pamidronate or clodronate for hypercalcemia of malignancy.

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YCRC Department of Clinical Oncology, Weston Park Hospital, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom.



To compare the effects of two bisphosphonates on markers of bone resorption in a randomized double-blind trial for the treatment of hypercalcemia of malignancy.


Thirty-two patients with a serum calcium (sCa) level > or = 2.7 mmol/L that persisted after 48 hours of saline rehydration were randomized to receive pamidronate 90 mg or clodronate 1,500 mg. Bone resorption markers measured included urinary calcium (uCa), hydroxyproline (Hyp), deoxypyridinoline (Dpd), pyridinoline (Pyd), the cross-linking molecule at either the N-telopeptide (NTx) or the C-telopeptide (Crosslaps) regions of type I collagen, and free Dpd.


Both bisphosphonates restored normocalcemia, but the duration of action was longer after pamidronate (P < .01). There was a mean pretreatment sevenfold increase in NTx, fivefold increase in Dpd and Crosslaps, and 2.5-fold increase in free Dpd. The changes in uCa were confounded by an increase in parathyroid hormone (PTH) (P < .05), which, through effects on the kidney, inhibits calcium excretion. Most resorption markers showed a larger decrease after pamidronate than clodronate (P < .01). NTx and Crosslaps showed the greatest decrease, being significantly different from any other marker in both arms (P < .01). There was a significant correlation between Dpd, NTx, and Crosslaps (P < .002), but not with uCa.


The superiority of pamidronate in controlling hypercalcemia is mirrored by the changes observed in these markers. uCa is not an accurate bone resorption marker, which reflects the renal handling of calcium by PTH. NTx and Crosslaps showed the largest increase at baseline and the greatest change after treatment, which suggests these new markers may be more sensitive indicators of bone resorption.

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