Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Treatment of cancer associated hypercalcaemia with combined aminohydroxypropylidene diphosphonate and calcitonin.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1986; 292 doi: (Published 14 June 1986) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1986;292:1549
  1. S H Ralston,
  2. A A Alzaid,
  3. M D Gardner,
  4. I T Boyle


    Eight patients with cancer associated hypercalcaemia were treated with the combination of aminohydroxypropylidene diphosphonate and salmon calcitonin for six days. Serum calcium concentration fell significantly within 24 hours of starting treatment due to a reduction in bone resorption and renal tubular calcium reabsorption. In the longer term hypercalcaemia was controlled by a further progressive reduction in bone resorption, which persisted for six days after treatment was stopped. Renal tubular calcium reabsorption, however, remained suppressed only during drug treatment. The rapid fall in serum calcium was attributable to the acute renal and skeletal effects of calcitonin, whereas in the longer term control of hypercalcaemia was due to diphosphonate mediated suppression of bone resorption. In view of the rapid effect and lack of toxicity, combined treatment with aminohydroxypropylidene diphosphonate and calcitonin would be of particular value in patients with severe hypercalcaemia in whom a quick but sustained reduction in the serum calcium concentration is desired.