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Tumor Lysis Syndrome Clinical Presentation

  • Author: Alan K Ikeda, MD; Chief Editor: Wafik S El-Deiry, MD, PhD  more...
 
Updated: Apr 22, 2016
 

History

In tumor lysis syndrome, a constellation of clinical symptoms may develop prior to the initiation of chemotherapy or, more commonly, within 72 hours after administration of cytotoxic therapy.[21] Inquiries should be made with regard to the following:

  • Time of onset of symptoms of malignancy
  • Presence of abdominal pain and distension
  • Presence of urinary symptoms - Such as dysuria, oliguria, flank pain, and hematuria
  • Occurrence of any symptoms of hypocalcemia - Such as anorexia, vomiting, cramps, seizures, spasms, altered mental status, and tetany
  • Symptoms of hyperkalemia - Such as weakness and paralysis

Other symptoms of tumor lysis syndrome include the following:

  • Lethargy
  • Edema
  • Fluid overload
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Cardiac dysrhythmias
  • Syncope
  • Sudden death
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Physical Examination

Symptoms reflect the severity of underlying metabolic abnormalities. Hyperkalemia can cause paresthesia, weakness, and fatal cardiac arrhythmias.

Severe hypocalcemia can lead to the following signs and symptoms:

  • Paresthesia and tetany with positive Chvostek and Trousseau signs
  • Anxiety
  • Carpal and pedal spasms
  • Bronchospasm
  • Seizures
  • Cardiac arrest

Deposition of calcium phosphate in various tissues may be responsible for the following signs and symptoms:

  • Pruritus
  • Gangrenous changes of the skin
  • Iritis
  • Arthritis

Uremia can produce the following signs and symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Malaise
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Anorexia
  • Metallic taste
  • Hiccups
  • Neuromuscular irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Pruritus
  • Restless legs
  • Ecchymoses

As uremia progresses, paresthesia and evidence of pericarditis may develop, as well as signs of drug toxicity from medications eliminated by the kidney. Features of volume overload, such as dyspnea, pulmonary rales, edema, and hypertension, may develop.

Elevated uric acid levels may produce lethargy, nausea, and vomiting. Rapidly increasing uric acid levels may lead to arthralgia and renal colic.

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Contributor Information and Disclosures
Author

Alan K Ikeda, MD Interim Medical Director, Director of Oncology, Children's Specialty Center of Las Vegas

Alan K Ikeda, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Pediatrics, American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Coauthor(s)

Koyamangalath Krishnan, MD, FRCP, FACP Dishner Endowed Chair of Excellence in Medicine, Professor of Medicine, James H Quillen College of Medicine at East Tennessee State University

Koyamangalath Krishnan, MD, FRCP, FACP is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine, American Society of Hematology, Royal College of Physicians

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Devapiran Jaishankar, MBBS Associate Professor, Division of Oncology, East Tennessee State University, James H Quillen College of Medicine

Devapiran Jaishankar, MBBS is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, American College of Physicians, American Society of Hematology, American Society of Clinical Oncology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Chief Editor

Wafik S El-Deiry, MD, PhD Rose Dunlap Professor of Medicine, Chief, Division of Hematology and Oncology, Penn State Hershey Medical Center

Wafik S El-Deiry, MD, PhD is a member of the following medical societies: American Association for Cancer Research, American Society for Clinical Investigation, American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Acknowledgements

Steven K Bergstrom, MD Department of Pediatrics, Division of Hematology-Oncology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Center of Oakland

Steven K Bergstrom, MD is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, American Society of Clinical Oncology, American Society of Hematology, American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, Children's Oncology Group, and International Society for Experimental Hematology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Max J Coppes, MD, PhD, MBA Senior Vice President, Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, Children's National Medical Center; Professor of Medicine, Oncology, and Pediatrics, Georgetown University School of Medicine; Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences

Max J Coppes, MD, PhD, MBA is a member of the following medical societies: American Association for Cancer Research, American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, and Society for Pediatric Research

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Stephan A Grupp, MD, PhD Director, Stem Cell Biology Program, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Oncology, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia; Associate Professor of Pediatrics, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

Stephan A Grupp, MD, PhD is a member of the following medical societies: American Association for Cancer Research, American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation, American Society of Hematology, American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, and Society for Pediatric Research

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Alan K Ikeda, MD Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Hematology and Oncology, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA; Associate Director of Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplantation, Mattel Children's Hospital

Alan K Ikeda, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Pediatrics, American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation, and American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology

Disclosure: Medscape Reference Honoraria author

Koyamangalath Krishnan, MD, FRCP, FACP Dishner Endowed Chair of Excellence in Medicine, Professor of Medicine, James H Quillen College of Medicine at East Tennessee State University

Koyamangalath Krishnan, MD, FRCP, FACP is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine, American Society of Hematology, and Royal College of Physicians

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Kathleen M Sakamoto, MD, PhD Professor and Chief, Division of Hematology-Oncology, Vice-Chair of Research, Mattel Children's Hospital at UCLA; Co-Associate Program Director of the Signal Transduction Program Area, Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, California Nanosystems Institute and Molecular Biology Institute, University of California, Los Angeles, David Geffen School of Medicine

Kathleen M Sakamoto, MD, PhD is a member of the following medical societies: American Society of Hematology, American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, International Society for Experimental Hematology, Society for Pediatric Research, and Western Society for Pediatric Research

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Amit P Sarnaik, MD Staff Physician, Department of Pediatrics, Wayne State University and Children's Hospital of Michigan

Amit P Sarnaik, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Pediatrics

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Philip Schulman, MD Chief, Medical Oncology, Department of Medicine, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center; Clinical Professor, Department of Medicine, New York University School of Medicine

Philip Schulman, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Association for Cancer Research, American College of Physicians, American Society of Hematology, and Medical Society of the State of New York

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Medscape Salary Employment

Mary L Windle, PharmD Adjunct Associate Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

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