Author(s): Rappaport R, Brauner R
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Abstract External cranial radiation for the treatment of malignant diseases has become a frequent cause of growth hormone deficiency (GHD). The timing of occurrence and the frequency of GHD were related to the hypothalamic-pituitary radiation dose. Frequency varied from 50\% in leukemia (2400 cGy) to 75\% in face and neck tumors or medulloblastoma (2500-4500 cGy) and up to 100\% in optic glioma (greater than 4500 cGy). The significantly more severe growth deficit in patients with GHD given higher radiation doses suggests different levels of residual GH secretion according to radiation dosage. The minimum harmful radiation dose is probably close to 1800-2000 cGy. Our data show that stimulation tests remain a useful means of defining GHD and predicting growth. A fair agreement between GH secretion and growth was found in most cases, regardless of the radiation dose. The only exception was a group of leukemic children (2400 cGy) who achieved normal prepubertal growth despite a low GH response. The 24-h spontaneous plasma GH profiles and IGF-I measurements may add information if growth is retarded despite a normal GH response. We showed that growth retardation occurring after some schedules of total body irradiation was not due to GH deficiency but rather to radiation-induced skeletal lesions. Early or true precocious puberty, generally associated with GHD, was another cause of height loss. As the role of GH deficiency in the final height reduction was demonstrated in all groups of patients after cranial radiation, we suggest that hGH therapy should be considered in any child with proven GH deficiency and significant growth retardation after such radiation.
This article was published in Pediatr Res
and referenced in Atherosclerosis: Open Access