OBJECTIVES: Parathyroid hormone-related protein (PTHrP) is expressed by squamous cell carcinomas. Our first objective was to examine the stability of PTHrP in normal human plasma. Our second objective was to determine whether plasma PTHrP could be used in patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) as an indicator of tumor burden or relapse. STUDY DESIGN AND SETTING: Blood and urine samples from 55 HNSCC patients undergoing tumor resection at The Ohio State University were measured for plasma PTHrP (1-86) concentration, serum ionized calcium concentration, and urine calcium/creatinine ratio. RESULTS: Two of 55 HNSCC patients had detectable levels of plasma PTHrP. Serum ionized calcium concentrations and urinary calcium/creatinine ratios were within normal limits in all patients. CONCLUSIONS: Plasma PTHrP was not a valuable indicator of tumor presence or recurrence in our patient population. SIGNIFICANCE: Plasma PTHrP is not a useful marker of tumor presence or recurrence in patients with stage II to IV or recurrent HNSCC.
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