Does hypercalcemia increase mortality rates in patients with cancer?

Updated: Dec 03, 2020
  • Author: Mahendra Agraharkar, MD, MBBS, FACP, FASN; Chief Editor: Vecihi Batuman, MD, FASN  more...
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In a retrospective matched-control study of 180 patients with lymphoma, Vallet et al found that hypercalcemia was independently associated with poor progression-free and overal survival. The study included 62 patients with hypercalcemia, with 118 comparable patients serving as controls. [17]

In a study of 90 patients with advanced head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), Alsirafy et al compared outcomes for those patients in the cohort who had hypercalcemia (46 patients) with those of patients who did not. The authors found that inpatients with hypercalcemia had a higher rate of palliative care referrals. Moreover, during the final 3 months of patient follow-up, a greater percentage of individuals with hypercalcemia paid more than 1 visit to the emergency room and a larger proportion of hypercalcemic patients were hospitalized for at least 14 days. [18]

The authors also determined that among the study's patients who were referred for palliative care, the median postreferral survival time for those with hypercalcemia was 43 days, while that for nonhypercalcemic patients was 128 days. Alsirafy et al concluded that if hypercalcemia in patients with HNSCC is detected and managed early, this may help to prevent hypercalcemia-associated symptoms and to reduce hospitalization time. [18]

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