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Tumour-induced osteomalacia: the long road to diagnosis and recovery
  1. Shobitha Vollmer1 and
  2. Karin Olsson1,2
  1. 1 Department of Endocrinology, Skane University Hospital, Lund, Sweden
  2. 2 Department of Clinical Sciences, Lund University, Lund, Sweden
  1. Correspondence to Dr Shobitha Vollmer; Shobitha.Vollmer{at}


Tumour-induced osteomalacia is caused by tumorous production of fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF23) leading to urinary phosphate wasting, hypophosphataemia and decreased vitamin D activation. The resulting osteomalacia presents with muscle weakness and bone pain but progresses to multiple pathological fractures. Patients often remain undiagnosed for years with severe physical, psychological and economic ramifications. A young woman presented with multiple spontaneous fractures including bilateral femoral fractures. Laboratory tests revealed severe hypophosphataemia, elevated bone turnover markers and low to normal calcium and 25-hydroxy-vitamin D levels. Treatment with phosphate, alfalcalcidol, calcium and magnesium was initiated. 68Gallium-DOTATOC positron emission tomography imaging revealed a mass in the right foot and venous sampling of FGF23 from all extremities confirmed this tumour as the culprit. Biopsy and histology were consistent with a phosphaturic mesenchymal tumour, which was surgically resected. Phosphate levels quickly normalised postoperatively but a long convalescence with hungry bone syndrome, fracture healing and physical therapy followed.

  • calcium and bone
  • osteomalacia
  • hypophosphatemia

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  • Contributors SV and KO were responsible for drafting of the text, sourcing and editing of clinical images, investigation results, drawing original diagrams and algorithms and critical revision for important intellectual content. SV and KO gave final approval of the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Case reports provide a valuable learning resource for the scientific community and can indicate areas of interest for future research. They should not be used in isolation to guide treatment choices or public health policy.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.