Journal of the Endocrine Society Journal Article

20-Year Evaluation of Hypercalcemia of Malignancy

November 30, 2021
 

Michael T Sheehan, Ya-Huei Li, Suhail A Doi, Adedayo A Onitilo
Journal of the Endocrine Society, Volume 5, Issue 11, November 2021, bvab157
https://doi.org/10.1210/jendso/bvab157

Abstract

Context

Hypercalcemia of malignancy (HCM) has not been studied in a fashion to determine all possible mechanisms of hypercalcemia in any given patient.

Objective

The 2 objectives were to assess the completeness of evaluation and to determine the distribution of etiologies of HCM in a contemporary cohort of patients.

Methods

A retrospective analysis was performed of patients with cancer who developed hypercalcemia over 20 years at a single health system. Laboratory data were electronically captured from medical records to identify cases of parathyroid hormone (PTH)-independent hypercalcemia. The records were then manually reviewed to confirm the diagnosis of HCM, document the extent of evaluation, and determine underlying etiology(ies) of HCM in each patient.

Results

The initial data set included 167 551 adult patients with malignancy, of which 11 589 developed hypercalcemia. Of these, only a quarter (25.4%) had assessment of PTH with a third of the latter (30.9%) indicating PTH-independent hypercalcemia. Of those with PTH-independent hypercalcemia, a third (31.6%) had assessment of PTH-related peptide (PTHrP) and/or 1,25-dihydroxy (1,25-OH) vitamin D and constituted the 153 cases of HCM examined in this study. Eighty-three of these patients had an incomplete evaluation of their HCM. The distribution of etiologies of HCM was therefore determined from the remaining 70 patients who had assessment of all 3 possible etiologies (PTHrP, 1,25-OH vitamin D, and skeletal imaging) and was as follows: PTHrP, 27%; osteolytic metastases, 50%; and 1,25-OH vitamin D, 39%, with combinations of etiologies being common (approximately 20%).

Conclusion

HCM is incompletely evaluated in many patients. The distribution of etiologies of HCM in this report differs significantly from the previous literature, warranting further study to determine whether its causes have indeed changed over time.

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