Hypercalcemia of Malignancy: An Update on Pathogenesis and Management.
Hypercalcemia of malignancy is a common finding typically found in patients with advanced stage cancers. We aimed to provide an updated review on the etiology, pathogenesis, clinical presentation, and management of malignancy-related hypercalcemia. We searched PubMed/Medline, Scopus, Embase, and Web of Science for original articles, case reports, and case series articles focused on hypercalcemia of malignancy published from 1950 to December 2014. Hypercalcemia of malignancy usually presents with markedly elevated calcium levels and therefore, usually severely symptomatic. Several major mechanisms are responsible for the development of hypercalcemia of malignancy including parathyroid hormone-related peptide-mediated humoral hypercalcemia, osteolytic metastases-related hypercalcemia, 1,25 Vitamin D-mediated hypercalcemia, and parathyroid hormone-mediated hypercalcemia in patients with parathyroid carcinoma and extra parathyroid cancers. Diagnosis should include the history and physical examination as well as measurement of the above mediators of hypercalcemia. Management includes hydration, calcitonin, bisphosphonates, denosumab, and in certain patients, prednisone and cinacalcet. Patients with advanced underlying kidney disease and refractory severe hypercalcemia should be considered for hemodialysis. Hematology or oncology and palliative care specialists should be involved early to guide the options of cancer targeted therapies and help the patients and their closed ones with the discussion of comfort-oriented care.
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