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Hypercalcemia (PDQ®): Supportive care - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Incidence by Cancer Type

Hypercalcemia occurs more frequently in some malignancies (e.g., breast cancer, multiple myeloma, and squamous cell carcinoma of the lung) than in others. Within each disease type, the incidence of hypercalcemia varies greatly in reported series. The frequency of hypercalcemia in some of the commonly involved neoplastic disorders is shown in Table 1.

Table 1. Incidence of Hypercalcemia by Tumor Typea

Tumor TypeIncidence (%) of Hypercalcemia of Malignancy
a Adapted from Kaplan.[1]
Breast (with bone metastases)30–40
Multiple myeloma20–40
Squamous cell carcinoma of lung12.5–35
Squamous cell carcinoma of head and neck2.9–25
Renal cell carcinoma3–17
 Hodgkin lymphoma0.6–5.4
 Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, high-grade14–33
 T-cell lymphoma (human T-cell, lymphotrophic virus type 1)50
Other malignancies: ovary, liver, pancreas, esophagus, cervix7
Unknown primary7


  1. Kaplan M: Hypercalcemia of malignancy. In: Yarbro CH, Wujcik D, Gobel BH, eds.: Cancer Nursing: Principles and Practice. 7th ed. Sudbury, Mass: Jones and Bartlett Publishers, 2010, pp 939-63.

    WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

    Last Updated: February 25, 2014
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