May 1987

Maintenance Etidronate in the Prevention of Malignancy-Associated Hypercalcemia

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Human Oncology, University of Wisconsin Clinical Cancer Center, Madison (Drs Schiller, Benson, and Witte and Mr Rasmussen); the Department of Medicine, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York (Dr Bockman); the Department of Medicine/Oncology Division, Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Hershey, Pa (Dr Harvey); the Department of Medicine, Columbia University, New York (Dr Siris); Albert Einstein University, Bronx, NY (Dr Citrin); the Division of Oncology, Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt Medical Center, Nashville, Tenn (Dr Greco); and the Endocrinology Research Laboratory, Worcester (Mass) Memorial Hospital (Dr Stock). Dr Benson is now with the Section of Hematology/Medical Oncology, Northwestern University Medical School and Veterans Administration Lakeside Medical Center, Chicago; Dr Witte is now with the Gundersen Clinic, La Crosse, Wis.

Arch Intern Med. 1987;147(5):963-966. doi:10.1001/archinte.1987.00370050155026

• Normocalcemic patients with cancer who had been successfully treated for an episode of hypercalcemia were enrolled in a randomized, multisite, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial designed to determine the efficacy of maintenance oral etidronate in preventing the recurrence of moderate to severe hypercalcemia (serum calcium level, >11.5 mg/dL [>2.87 mmol/L]). Ten (40%) of 25 etidronate-treated patients and 17 (46%) of 37 placebo-treated patients had recurrence of hypercalcemia within 150 days. Although patients taking etidronate had a longer time to the development of hypercalcemia (median, 55 days vs 28 days), this was not significantly different from the control group. The high attrition rate in this trial from hypercalcemia and other malignancy-related causes represents a major difficulty in conducting studies with agents that may require prolonged administration before producing a therapeutic effect.

(Arch Intern Med 1987;147:963-966)