Hypercalcemia of Malignancy and Parathyroid Hormone Related Protein

Gordon J. Strewler, MD

Hypercalcemia is a relatively common complication of malignant tumors, occurring in 5% to 10% of all cancers. The incidence of hypercalcemia in malignancy is 15 cases per 100,000 person-years, about one half the incidence of primary hyperparathyroidism,1 and it is the most common cause of hypercalcemia in hospitalized patients.2 In 1924, Zondek and colleagues3 first described hypercalcemia as a complication of cancer, and in 1941 Albright4 proposed that hypercalcemia may be caused by humoral factors rather than direct resorption of bone by metastatic tumor. Our understanding of the causation and treatment of the syndrome of hypercalcemia in malignancy has burgeoned rapidly since 1980.5-6

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