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      Abuse of Germanium Associated with Fatal Lactic Acidosis

      a , b , c

      Nephron

      S. Karger AG

      Lactic acidosis, Germanium, Renal failure, Pancreatitis, Hepatic failure

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          Abstract

          Germanium compounds are marketed as nonprescription drugs in Europe and are recommended by the suppliers for AIDS and metastatic cancer disease. We observed a patient with nonmetastatic breast cancer who died because of severe lactic acidosis (plasma lactate concentration = 27 mmol/l) after ingestion of 25 g of elemental germanium over a 2-months period. Renal failure and hepatotoxicity had newly developed during germanium intake. Postmortem examination revealed severe hydropic vacuolation of tubule cells and the presence of inclusion bodies predominantly in straight proximal tubule cells with normal appearance of renal interstitium and glomeruli. The liver showed panlobular steatosis. Urine, blood and tissue (kidney, liver, muscle, pancreas) levels of germanium were high. Lactic acidosis may have been caused by the combined, germanium-induced renal and hepatic failure (underutilization), but it remains to be seen whether germanium can affect lactate production and/or metabolism directly.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          NEF
          Nephron
          10.1159/issn.1660-8151
          Nephron
          S. Karger AG
          1660-8151
          2235-3186
          1992
          1992
          12 December 2008
          : 62
          : 3
          : 351-356
          Affiliations
          aDepartment of Medicine, Hospital of St. Gall; bDepartment of Pathology, University of Berne; cInstitute of Forensic Medicine, University of Zurich, Switzerland
          Article
          187072 Nephron 1992;62:351–356
          10.1159/000187072
          1436351
          © 1992 S. Karger AG, Basel

          Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug. Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.

          Page count
          Pages: 6
          Categories
          Case Report

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