Pseudo-(tumor-induced) rickets

M. P. Whyte, M. N. Podgornik, V. A. Wollberg, M. C. Eddy, W. H. McAlister

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12 Scopus citations


An athletic 8-year-old boy developed severe muscle weakness over 2 years. At the age of 10 years, investigation for possible neuromuscular disease disclosed hypophosphatemia (1.8 mg/dl) and rickets. There was selective renal tubular wasting of inorganic phosphate (Pi) but no history of toxin exposure, familial bone or kidney disease, or biochemical evidence of vitamin D deficiency. Urine amino acid quantitation was unremarkable. Serum 1, 25-dihydroxyvitamin D [1, 25(OH)2D] concentration was in the lower half of the reference range. Our presumptive diagnosis was tumor-induced rickets; however, physical examination and bone scanning in search of a neoplasm were unrevealing. Soon after 1, 25(OH)2D3 and Pi treatment began, muscle strength improved considerably. After 6 months of therapy, radiographic abnormalities were substantially better. During the next 6 years, physical examinations, a second bone scan, whole-body and nasal sinus magnetic resonance imaging, and octreotide scintigraphy were unremarkable. When his physes fused at the age of 16 years, assessment of his course showed excellent control of his rickets requiring decreasing doses of medication. Furthermore, fasting serum Pi levels and tubular maximum phosphorus/glomerular filtration (TmP/GFR) values had increased steadily and normalized after 3 years of treatment. Accordingly, therapy was stopped. Seven months after stopping medication, he continues to feel completely well. Fasting serum Pi levels, TmP/GFR, other biochemical parameters of bone and mineral homeostasis, creatinine clearance, and renal sonography are normal. Neither spontaneous or pharmacologic cure of tumor-induced rickets or osteomalacia nor a patient matching ours has been reported. His disorder, which we call pseudo-(tumor-induced) rickets, should be considered when investigation for oncogenic rickets or osteomalacia discloses no causal lesion. Consequently, prolonged medical therapy and futile searches for a neoplasm may be avoided.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1564-1571
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Bone and Mineral Research
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2001


  • Hypophosphatemia
  • Myopathy
  • Osteomalacia
  • Phosphate
  • Vitamin D


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