Phosphaturic mesenchymal tumors: what an endocrinologist should know

J. M. Boland, P. J. Tebben, A. L. Folpe

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Tumor-induced osteomalacia (TIO), also known as “oncogenic osteomalacia”, is a rare cause of osteomalacia. TIO often has an insidious onset characterized clinically by progressive muscle weakness and bone pain with fractures. The hallmark biochemical finding is a persistent low serum phosphorus concentration due to renal phosphate wasting. The vast majority of cases of TIO result from production of the phosphaturic hormone fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF23) by a histologically distinctive mesenchymal tumor, termed “phosphaturic mesenchymal tumor” (PMT). Circulating FGF23 induces internalization of renal sodium/phosphate co-transporters resulting in reduced proximal tubular phosphate reabsorption. FGF23 also inhibits production of 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D which is inappropriately low or normal in the context of hypophosphatemia. Diagnosis is often delayed owing to the rarity of the condition and an underappreciation for the role of phosphorus as a cause for the constellation of symptoms. Primary treatment for TIO is identification of the offending tumor and surgical removal. However, these tumors are notoriously difficult to find, precluding the opportunity for a curative surgery in many. In such cases, phosphate and calcitriol therapy is used to improve symptoms and heal the osteomalacia. Recently, molecular genetic studies have shown recurrent genetic events in PMT, including the novel fusions FN1–FGFR1 and less commonly FN1–FGF1. These fusion events are hypothesized to result in autocrine/paracrine signaling loops within the tumor, spurring tumorigenesis. This review will cover the clinical features, imaging characteristics, pathologic features, molecular genetic aspects, and therapy of PMT, with a brief discussion of other neoplasms that may cause TIO.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1173-1184
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of endocrinological investigation
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2018


  • Hyperphosphaturia
  • Hypophosphatemia
  • Phosphaturic mesenchymal tumor
  • Rickets
  • Tumor-induced osteomalacia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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