Medline: 1906532

Journal of Clinical Oncology 9(8): 1467-1475, 1991.

A randomized double-blind study of gallium nitrate compared with etidronate for acute control of cancer-related hypercalcemia.

Warrell RP Jr, Murphy WK, Schulman P, et al.

Abstract:

Hypercalcemia is a major source of morbidity and mortality in patients with cancer. Gallium nitrate and the bisphosphonate, etidronate, are new agents that have recently become available for treatment of this disorder. To directly compare therapeutic effectiveness, we conducted a randomized, double-blind, multicenter study of gallium nitrate compared with etidronate for acute control of cancer-related hypercalcemia. Gallium nitrate was administered by continuous intravenous (IV) infusion at a dose of 200 mg/m2/d. Etidronate was administered as a 4-hour IV infusion at a dose of 7.5 mg/kg. Both drugs were given daily for 5 consecutive days. Eligible patients had persistent moderate-to-severe hypercalcemia (total serum calcium [corrected for serum albumin] greater than or equal to 12.0 mg/dL) after 2 days of hospitalization and IV hydration. Seventy-one patients were randomized and treated. Twenty-eight of 34 patients (82%) who received gallium nitrate achieved normocalcemia compared with 16 of 37 patients (43%) who received etidronate (P less than .001). Patients who received etidronate required significantly greater amounts of IV fluids (P = .04) and more hypocalcemic drug treatment (P less than .05) during the poststudy period than patients who received gallium nitrate. Kaplan-Meier analysis showed a significantly longer median duration of normocalcemia for patients treated with gallium nitrate (8 days v 0 days, P = .0005). A significantly higher proportion of patients treated with gallium nitrate developed asymptomatic hypophosphatemia compared with patients treated with etidronate (97% v 43%, P less than .001). We conclude that gallium nitrate is highly effective and superior to etidronate for acute control of moderate-to-severe cancer-related hypercalcemia.


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