Safety and tolerability of subcutaneous PTHrP(1-36) in healthy human volunteers: A dose escalation study

Mara J. Horwitz, Mary Beth Tedesco, Susan M. Sereika, Adolfo Garcia-Ocaña, Alessandro Bisello, Bruce W. Hollis, Caren Gundberg, Andrew F. Stewart

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39 Scopus citations


Parathyroid hormone-related protein (PTHrP) is an anabolic skeletal agent in mice, rats and humans. In previous studies, we have demonstrated that PTHrP can be administered to osteoporotic postmenopausal women at a dose of 6.56 ug/kg/day (or approximately 400 ug/day) for 3 months to yield a 4.7% increase in lumbar spine BMD. This regimen was free of hypercalcemia or adverse effects. Moreover, PTHrP appeared to stimulate bone formation selectively, without stimulating bone resorption. This efficacy in the absence of adverse effects, as well as the apparent "pure anabolic" action of PTHrP, prompted us to attempt to define the complete therapeutic window for PTHrP. In this study, we gradually escalated the dose of PTHrP(1-36) from 9 to 28 ug/kg (or approximately 570 ug to 1,946 ug) administered as a single subcutaneous dose to 22 healthy young adult subjects. PTHrP(1-36) was well tolerated even at the highest dose, just under 2.0 mg, some five times higher than we have previously demonstrated to be effective in increasing bone mass, and some 100 times higher than the maximal approved dose of PTH(1-34). Despite the large dose of PTHrP, the highest serum calcium achieved was 10.6 mg/dl, and this was observed in only one subject at the highest dose. The mean serum calcium in subjects receiving the highest dose was 9.6 mg/dl. Only one subject experienced adverse symptoms/signs, and this was at the highest dose. We conclude that subcutaneous PTHrP(1-36) is safe when administered in single doses approaching 2.0 mg. These findings indicate that the therapeutic window for PTHrP(1-36) in humans is wide and permit the design and implementation of longer safety and efficacy trials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-230
Number of pages6
JournalOsteoporosis International
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Dose escalation study
  • PTHrP
  • Subcutaneous
  • Tolerability


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