Background: This analysis was performed to further characterise treatment-emergent hypocalcaemia in patients with bone metastases receiving denosumab.
Methods: Laboratory abnormalities and adverse events of hypocalcaemia in patients with metastatic bone disease were analysed using data from three identically designed phase 3 trials of subcutaneous denosumab 120 mg (n = 2841) versus intravenous zoledronic acid 4 mg (n = 2836).
Results: The overall incidence of laboratory events of hypocalcaemia grade ⩾ 2 was higher with denosumab (12.4%) than with zoledronic acid (5.3%). Hypocalcaemia events were primarily grade 2 in severity and usually occurred within the first 6 months of treatment. Patients who reported taking calcium and/or vitamin D supplements had a lower incidence of hypocalcaemia. Prostate cancer or small-cell lung cancer, reduced creatinine clearance and higher baseline bone turnover markers of urinary N-telopeptide of type I collagen (uNTx; > 50 versus ⩽ 50 nmol/mmol) and bone-specific alkaline phosphatase (BSAP; > 20.77 μg/L [median] versus ⩽ 20.77 μg/L) values were important risk factors for developing hypocalcaemia. The risk associated with increased baseline BSAP levels was greater among patients who had > 2 bone metastases at baseline versus those with ⩽ 2 bone metastases at baseline.
Conclusion: Hypocalcaemia was more frequent with denosumab versus zoledronic acid, consistent with denosumab's greater antiresorptive effect. Low serum calcium levels and potential vitamin D deficiency should be corrected before initiating treatment with a potent osteoclast inhibitor, and corrected serum calcium levels should be monitored during treatment. Adequate calcium and vitamin D intake appears to substantially reduce the risk of hypocalcaemia.
Keywords: Bone metastasis; Denosumab; Hypocalcaemia; Risk factors; Zoledronic acid.
Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.