Familial hypocalciuric hypercalcaemia: a review

Curr Opin Endocrinol Diabetes Obes. 2011 Dec;18(6):359-70. doi: 10.1097/MED.0b013e32834c3c7c.


Purpose of review: Hypercalcaemia is a potentially life-threatening condition. Familial hypocalciuric hypercalcaemia (FHH) is a rare, lifelong, benign condition. It is important to separate this condition from other hypercalcaemic states such as hypercalcaemia of malignancy and primary hyperparathyroidism (PHPT).

Recent findings: FHH is caused by inactivating mutations in the calcium sensing receptor (CASR) gene leading to a general calcium-hyposensitivity, compensatory hypercalcaemia and hypocalciuria. The inheritance of FHH is autosomal dominant. Similar to PHPT, FHH is characterized by hypercalcaemia, unsuppressed or elevated plasma parathyroid hormone, and typically normal renal function. The phenotype is normal, and hypercalcaemic symptoms are generally absent. The hallmark is a relatively low urine calcium excretion in contrast to PHPT, in which urine calcium excretion is increased. The vitamin D status as measured by plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D has been reported to be normal with normal seasonal variations, whereas plasma 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D has been found slightly increased compared to normal. Bone mineral density Z-scores are normal in spite of a slightly increased bone turnover. Differential diagnoses include mainly PHPT, but in some cases also hypercalcaemia of malignancy and use of thiazide diuretics.

Summary: In general, FHH does not require treatment. We recommend a two-step diagnostic procedure. First, the calcium/creatinine clearance ratio is measured from a 24-h urine. Second, all patients with calcium/creatinine clearance ratio of 0.020 or less are tested for mutations in the CASR gene. The diagnostic sensitivity of this setup is 98%.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Calcium / blood
  • Calcium / urine
  • Creatinine / blood
  • Creatinine / urine
  • Humans
  • Hypercalcemia / congenital*
  • Hypercalcemia / diagnosis
  • Hypercalcemia / epidemiology
  • Hypercalcemia / genetics
  • Mutation
  • Receptors, Calcium-Sensing / genetics
  • Receptors, Calcium-Sensing / metabolism
  • Vitamin D / analogs & derivatives
  • Vitamin D / blood


  • Receptors, Calcium-Sensing
  • Vitamin D
  • 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D
  • Creatinine
  • Calcium

Supplementary concepts

  • Hypocalciuric hypercalcemia, familial, type 1