1. The renal handling of calcium and magnesium was studied in six patients with persistent hypomagnesaemia after cis-platinum treatment for testicular tumours.
2. In comparison with normal subjects, the patients showed hypomagnesaemia (mean 0.54 mmol/l), which was associated with a normal urinary magnesium excretion (mean 4.83 mmol/24 h). Urinary calcium excretion was significantly lower in the patients than in the normal subjects (mean 2.05 vs 5.15 mmol/24 h, respectively; P < 0.01), despite slightly higher total serum calcium levels (2.53 vs 2.38 mmol/l, respectively; P < 0.05). During magnesium chloride infusion, when serum magnesium levels were comparable in patients and controls, urinary calcium excretion remained lower in the patients, indicating that hypomagnesaemia was not the cause of the hypocalciuria.
3. Dietary magnesium supplementation resulted in a significant increase in the serum magnesium levels in the patients, while dietary magnesium deprivation resulted in a comparable decrease in urinary magnesium excretion in patients and controls (to 1.46 and 2.00 mmol/day, respectively), although the serum magnesium level fell further (to 0.46 mmol/l) in the patients.
4. The dissociation of renal calcium and magnesium excretion appears to be part of the intrinsic tubular defect caused by cis-platinum. This dissociation of urinary calcium and magnesium excretion, which resembles that seen in Bartter's syndrome, may result from a lesion in the distal convoluted tubule.