Hyperkalemia in patients treated with endoradiotherapy combined with amino acid infusion is associated with severe metabolic acidosis

Christian H. Pfob, Matthias Eiber, Peter Luppa, Florian Maurer, Tobias Maurer, Robert Tauber, Calogero D’Alessandria, Benedikt Feuerecker, Klemens Scheidhauer, Armin Ott, Uwe Heemann, Markus Schwaiger, Christoph Schmaderer

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5 Scopus citations


Background: Amino acid co-infusion for renal protection in endoradiotherapy (ERT) applied as prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA)-targeted radioligand therapy (RLT) or peptide receptor radionuclide therapy (PRRT) has been shown to cause severe hyperkalemia. The pathophysiology behind the rapid development of hyperkalemia is not well understood. We hypothesized that the hyperkalemia should be associated with metabolic acidosis. Results: Twenty-two patients underwent ERT. Prior to the first cycle, excretory kidney function was assessed by mercapto-acetyltriglycine (MAG-3) renal scintigraphy, serum biochemistry, and calculated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR). All patients received co-infusion of the cationic amino acids L-arginine and L-lysine for nephroprotection. Clinical symptoms, electrolytes, and acid-base status were evaluated at baseline and after 4 h. No patient developed any clinically relevant side effects. At baseline, acid base status and electrolytes were normal in all patients. Excretory kidney function was normal or only mildly impaired in all except two patients with stage 3 renal insufficiency. All patients developed hyperkalemia. Base excess and HCO3 were significantly lower after 4 h. In parallel, mean pH dropped from 7.36 to 7.29. There was a weak association between calculated (r = − 0.21) as well as MAG-3-derived GFR (r = − 0.32) and the rise in potassium after 4 h. Conclusion: Amino acid co-infusion during ERT leads to severe metabolic acidosis which induces hyperkalemia by potassium hydrogen exchange. This novel finding implies that commercially available bicarbonate solutions might be an easy therapeutic option to correct metabolic acidosis rapidly.

Original languageEnglish
Article number17
JournalEJNMMI Research
StatePublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Amino acid
  • Hyperkalemia
  • Metabolic acidosis
  • PRRT
  • Prostate cancer
  • RLT
  • Radiotherapy


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