Hypercalcemia with concomitant elevation of serum parathyroid hormone (PTH) and PTH-related protein (PTHrP) levels was found in a patient with advanced gastric carcinoma and multiple liver metastases. The most common features are hypercalcemia associated with hypersecretion of PTHrP and physiological suppression of PTH secretion in the syndrome of humoral hypercalcemia of malignancy (HHM). Although we initially made a diagnosis of primary hyperparathyroidism concomitant with HHM due to gastric cancer, diagnostic imaging studies, such as echography, CT, sestamibi scintigraphy, and autopsy findings, did not reveal evidence of any parathyroid tumors or ectopic parathyroid glands in the mediastinum. Both primary and metastatic tumor cells showed positive staining with PTH-specific antibody as well as PTHrP-specific antibody on immunohistochemical examination. PTH concentration in the cytosolic fraction of the metastatic tumor was elevated compared to that from a control patient with no calcium metabolic disorders in vitro. These findings indicated that PTH secreted ectopically by gastric cancer cells, not by parathyroid glands, caused hypercalcemia in this patient. To our knowledge, this is the first case report of PTH-secreting gastric carcinoma cells. We report the case and a review of the previous reported PTH-secreting non-parathyroid tumors along with the mechanisms of secretion.
The Japan Endocrine Society