Specific humoral substances produced and secreted by human tumors that cause hypercalcemia have not been identified. Certain growth factors (such as epidermal growth factor, platelet-derived growth factor, and transforming growth factors-alpha and -beta) have been shown to stimulate the resorption of bone in organ culture by both prostaglandin-dependent and prostaglandin-independent pathways. In this report we demonstrate that epidermal growth factor and recombinant human transforming growth factor-alpha induce a significant rise in plasma calcium concentration when administered repeatedly to intact mice for periods ranging from 24 h to 16 d. The elevation of plasma calcium is not dependent on dietary calcium and is not invariably accompanied by an increase in systemic levels of the prostaglandin E2 metabolite 13,14-dihydro-15-keto-prostaglandin E2. The in vivo calcium-mobilizing activity of epidermal growth factor and transforming growth factor-alpha indicate that these or related growth factors need be considered as potential mediators of tumor-induced hypercalcemia.


A H Tashjian Jr, E F Voelkel, W Lloyd, R Derynck, M E Winkler, L Levine


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