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October 1978

Hypercalcemia and Head and Neck Cancer: Bony Metastases From Tongue Cancer

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Otolaryngology, University of Missouri at Kansas City School of Medicine. Dr Liston is now with the Department of Otolaryngology, University of Minnesota Hospitals, Minneapolis.

Arch Otolaryngol. 1978;104(10):597-600. doi:10.1001/archotol.1978.00790100051012

• Hypercalcemia causes lethargy and coma in patients with head and neck cancer. It is important to realize that coma may be due to hypercalcemia and need not be a terminal event in the progress of the tumor. Also, the development of hypercalcemia in a previously normocalcemic patient requires investigation as to the cause of the hypercalcemia. I report two cases of comatose patients, hypercalcemic from bony metastases from tongue cancer, in whom treatment by furosemide and intravenous fluid diuresis, prednisone, sodium phosphate, and mithramycin produced worthwhile remissions. Hypercalcemia may be due to (1) bony metastases, (2) pseudohyperparathyroidism, (3) unrelated associated parathyroid tumors, or (4) a second primary tumor. Even with treatment, hypercalcemia is a bad prognostic sign in patients with head and neck cancer.

(Arch Otolaryngol 104:597-600, 1978)

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