Refractory hypercalcaemia secondary to parathyroid carcinoma: response to high-dose denosumab

Dharshini Karuppiah, Gaya Thanabalasingham, Brian Shine, Lai Mun Wang, Gregory P Sadler, Niki Karavitaki, Ashley B Grossman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: Hypercalcaemia is an important cause of increased morbidity and mortality in patients with parathyroid carcinoma. Surgical resection is the mainstay of treatment but, equally, managing hypercalcaemia is of paramount importance. At present, few therapies have been shown to be effective in the most severe cases. This report describes the efficacy of denosumab in a patient with parathyroid carcinoma when conventional therapies had been shown to be relatively ineffective.SUBJECT, METHODS AND RESULTS: A 50-year-old man presented with symptomatic hypercalcaemia 1 year after the surgery for his parathyroid carcinoma. Investigations revealed raised serum calcium and parathyroid hormone concentrations consistent with the recurrence of the disease. Imaging failed to localise any surgically remediable foci. Medical management with loop diuretics, calcimimetics and bisphosphonates failed to provide a sustained response. Denosumab, as a monthly injection, led to a gradual decrement in his peak calcium concentrations with the values now persistently below 3 mmol/l.

CONCLUSIONS: Denosumab, a fully human MAB that binds to the 'receptor activator of nuclear factor κB ligand (RANKL)', was shown to have a profound effect in modulating malignant hypercalcaemia. This medication should be considered as an effective option in patients with refractory hypercalcaemia secondary to parathyroid carcinoma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)K1-5
JournalEuropean Journal of Endocrinology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014

Bibliographical note

© 2014 European Society of Endocrinology.


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Calcium
  • Humans
  • Hypercalcemia
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Paraneoplastic Syndromes
  • Parathyroid Hormone
  • Parathyroid Neoplasms


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