Treatment options for hypercalcemia after cosmetic oil injections: Lessons from human tissue cultures and a pilot intervention study

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Objective: Granuloma formation following self-administered cosmetic oil injections can lead to severe hypercalcemia and renal calcifications due to extra-renal vitamin D activation. This translational study aims to identify Prednisolone sparing therapeutics for hypercalcemia after development of granulomatous disease secondary to paraffin oil injections. Materials and methods: Granuloma tissue isolated from five men were cultured ex vivo and treated with selected drugs to block generation of activated vitamin D (1,25(OH)2D3). In a retrospective study, we included data before and during different treatments of 21 men with paraffin oil induced granulomatous hypercalcemia (46 treatment courses) where serum calcium, parathyroid hormone, vitamin D metabolites, creatinine and inflammatory markers were measured. Results: Addition of Ketoconazole or Ciclosporin to granuloma tissue ex vivo culture, significantly suppressed production of 1,25(OH)2D3 after 48 h (both p < 0.05). Prednisolone was the first treatment option in most men and lowered serum levels of ionized calcium after 1, 2, 3 and 6 months compared with baseline (p < 0.05). Ketoconazole or Hydroxychloroquine had no significant effect on serum calcium levels and were unable to reduce the concomitant daily Prednisolone doses (p > 0.05). Azathioprine did not reduce calcium levels. However, addition of Tacrolimus to Prednisolone treatment enabled a reduction in Prednisolone dose after 3 months (p = 0.014), but with no additional effect on calcium homeostasis. Conclusion: This study verifies that Prednisolone is an effective treatment and suggests that calcineurin inhibitors may be used as Prednisolone sparing treatment for paraffin oil-induced granulomatous hypercalcemia. Randomized clinical trials are needed to determine clinical efficacy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number116244
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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© 2021 The Authors

    Research areas

  • Cosmetic oil injections, Extra-renal vitamin D activation, Granuloma, Hypercalcemia, Prednisolone, Tacrolimus

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