Hypercalcemia of Malignancy: Time to Pull the Brakes


Hypercalcemia of malignancy (HOM) is usually seen in advanced stage and carries a poor prognosis. Survival outcomes are dismal and most of the patients are unable to receive subsequent definite anti-cancer therapy. There is lack of any retrospective or prospective data regarding hypercalcemia of malignancy in Indian population. We aim to describe survival outcomes in hypercalcemia associated with solid organ malignancies. Forty-five patients diagnosed with HOM associated with solid organ malignancies were included in the study. Patients were followed up till death. Clinical features and survival outcomes were noted. Squamous cell carcinoma of head and neck region and lung comprised most of the cases associated with HOM. Most of the patients presented with poor performance status. Median overall survival (OS) was 20 days (2–78 days). Median OS was 35 days (9–58 days) in those who received definite anti-cancer therapy. Four-week mortality rate was estimated as 59.5%, while this increased to 75.7% within 6 weeks from the diagnosis of hypercalcemia. Survival outcomes are poor after the diagnosis of hypercalcemia in cancer patients. Best supportive care including hospice care should be strongly considered at this point of time instead of definite systemic anti-cancer therapy.

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All authors contributed to final manuscript. DS, LA and MW were involved in the study design and protocol. DS, RS and LA contributed to data collection and manuscript writing. Data analysis and proof reading was done by DS and PPN.

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Correspondence to Deepak Sundriyal.

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Sundriyal, D., Arya, L., Saha, R. et al. Hypercalcemia of Malignancy: Time to Pull the Brakes. Indian J Surg Oncol (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13193-020-01131-5

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  • Hypercalcemia of malignancy
  • Bisphosphonate therapy
  • Squamous cell carcinoma
  • Best supportive care