Hypercalcaemia occurs in up to 80% of patients with adult T-cell leukaemia-lymphoma (ATLL) associated with human T-cell leukaemia virus-1 infection. Elevated serum levels of 1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol, implicated in the pathogenesis of hypercalcaemia in lymphoma, and of parathyroid hormone-related protein (PTHrP), which is associated with hypercalcaemia of several solid malignancies, were demonstrated in a patient with ATLL hypercalcaemia. Treatment with bisphosphonates reduced the serum calcium but had no significant effect on the serum PTHrP levels. This case supports recent in vitro evidence for enhanced PTHrP expression in ATLL tumour cells and suggests that more than one tumour cell product may be involved in the pathogenesis of ATLL hypercalcaemia.
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