AffiliationDepartment of Endocrinology, Christie Hospital and Holt Radium Institute, Manchester.
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AbstractOBJECTIVE: To determine whether using growth hormone to treat radiation induced growth hormone deficiency causes tumour recurrence. DESIGN: Comparison of tumour recurrence rates in children treated with growth hormone for radiation induced deficiency and an untreated population. Computed tomograms from children with brain tumours were reviewed when starting growth hormone and subsequently. SETTING: North West region. PATIENTS: 207 children treated for brain tumour, 47 of whom received growth hormone and 161 children with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia 15 of whom received growth hormone. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Tumour recurrence and changes in appearances on computed tomography. RESULTS: Among children with brain tumour, five (11%) who received growth hormone had recurrences compared with 42 (26%) who did not receive growth hormone. Also adjusting for other variables that might affect tumour recurrence the estimated relative risk of recurrence was 0.82 (95% confidence interval 0.28 to 2.37). The only child with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia who relapsed while taking growth hormone had relapsed previously before starting treatment. Two of the five children with brain tumours who relapsed had abnormal appearances on computed tomography when growth hormone was started. 14 other children who remained relapse free and had follow up computed tomography showed no deterioration in radiological appearance during treatment. CONCLUSIONS: In this population growth hormone did not increase the risk of tumour recurrence but continued surveillance is essential. Abnormal results on computed tomography are not a contraindication to treatment with growth hormone.
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