Paraneoplastic Hypercalcemia in a Patient with Adenosquamous Cancer of the Colon

Thompson, James T.; Levine, Edward A.; Paschold, Eugene H.
June 2001
American Surgeon;Jun2001, Vol. 67 Issue 6, p585
Academic Journal
Hypercalcemia is a well-known manifestation of paraneoplastic syndromes associated with a variety of malignancies. However, colon cancer has only rarely been associated with hypercalcemia of malignancy. We present the case of a patient with recurrent adenosquamous carcinoma of the ascending colon found to have hypercalcemia. The patient is a 76-year-old white woman who initially presented with colon cancer in the cecum and underwent a right hemicolectomy. All lymph nodes and surgical margins were free of tumor. Pathological examination at that time revealed adenosquamous carcinoma of the colon. Eight months later she complained of dizziness, anorexia, and constipation and was found to have a calcium level of 13.6 mg/dL. CT scan revealed a mass measuring 10.5 to 12.7 cm in the fight hepatic lobe, and a bone scan was normal. Her intact parathyroid hormone (PTH) level was 6 pg/mL (normal 12-72) and her PTH-related protein (PTHrP) level was 25.7 pmol/L (normal <1.3). She then underwent a hepatic resection. The serum PTH, calcium, and PTHrP levels normalized after resection. Hypercalcemia of malignancy in colon cancer is rare and has an association with adenosquamous histology. The hypercalcemia is attributed to PTHrP, and here we demonstrate this in the serum and tumor specimens. The effects of PTHrP are shown to be short-lived postoperatively. We find only 14 other cases in the literature of hypercalcemia related to a colonic neoplasm, and this is the only patient reported to be surviving. The diagnosis of a paraneoplastic syndrome mediated via PTHrP should be considered when hypercalcemia is encountered in the setting of metastatic colon carcinoma.


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