Dexamethasone-induced tumor lysis syndrome in high-grade non-Hodgkin's lymphoma

Document Type



Internal Medicine


Tumor lysis syndrome is a catastrophic complication of the treatment of certain neoplasms. It most commonly occurs in association with hematologic malignancies and manifests a few hours to a few days after initiation of specific chemotherapy. It has rarely been encountered as a complication of steroid therapy only. Tumor lysis syndrome is a potentially fatal condition if it is not recognized promptly and managed aggressively. We report on a patient with high-grade non-Hodgkin's lymphoma who developed severe metabolic acidosis, hyperkalemia, hyperphosphatemia, and hypocalcemia within 2 days of starting corticosteroid therapy. He was managed with intravenous fluids, bicarbonate infusion, calcium gluconate, and 25% dextrose with insulin. He did not respond to these measures and died within a few hours of the diagnosis of tumor lysis syndrome. Increasing awareness of this complication and proper prophylactic measures are necessary to improve the outcome.


Southern Medical Journal