High-dose GH treatment limited to the prepubertal period in young children with idiopathic short stature does not increase adult height
Objective: To assess the long-term effect of prepubertal high-dose GH treatment on growth in children with idiopathic short stature (ISS). Design and methods: Forty children with no signs of puberty, age at start 4-8 years (girls) or 4-10 years (boys), height SDS <2-.0 SDS, and birth length >-2.0 SDS, were randomly allocated to receive GH at a dose of 2 mg/m2per day (equivalent to 75 μg/kg per day at start and 64 μg/kg per day at stop) until the onset of puberty for at least 2 years (preceded by two 3-month periods of treatment with low or intermediate doses of GH separated by two washout periods of 3 months) or no treatment. In 28 cases, adult height (AH) was assessed at a mean (S.D.) age of 20.4 (2.3) years. Results: GH-treated children (mean treatment period on high-dose GH 2.3 years (range 1.2-5.0 years)) showed an increased mean height SDS at discontinuation of the treatment compared with the controls (-1.3 (0.8) SDS versus -2.6 (0.8) SDS respectively). However, bone maturation was significantly accelerated in the GH-treated group compared with the controls (1.6 (0.4) versus 1.0 (0.2) years per year, respectively), and pubertal onset tended to advance. After an untreated interval of 3-12 years, AH was -2.1 (0.7) and -1.9 (0.6) in the GH-treated and control groups respectively. Age was a positive predictor of adult height gain. Conclusion: High-dose GH treatment restricted to the prepubertal period in young ISS children augments height gain during treatment, but accelerates bone maturation, resulting in a similar adult height compared with the untreated controls.