Causes and mechanisms of acid-base and electrolyte abnormalities in cancer patients

Eur J Intern Med. 2008 Jan;19(1):1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ejim.2007.04.016. Epub 2007 Jul 23.


Patients with cancer frequently exhibit acid-base and electrolyte disturbances that complicate their management and prolong their hospitalization. The mechanisms encountered for these abnormalities are multifactorial in origin. Both the underlying disease and the therapeutic interventions can contribute to the development of these disturbances. An understanding of the mechanisms involved in their pathogenesis is of paramount importance for their prevention and treatment in cancer patients. This article briefly reviews the causes and the pathophysiology of acid-base and electrolyte abnormalities observed in cancer patients.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acidosis / etiology*
  • Acidosis / physiopathology*
  • Electrolytes / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hypophosphatemia / etiology
  • Hypophosphatemia / physiopathology
  • Magnesium Deficiency / etiology
  • Magnesium Deficiency / physiopathology
  • Neoplasms / complications*
  • Neoplasms / physiopathology*
  • Tumor Lysis Syndrome / etiology
  • Tumor Lysis Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Water-Electrolyte Imbalance / etiology*
  • Water-Electrolyte Imbalance / physiopathology*


  • Electrolytes