Safety of Pediatric rhGH Therapy: An Overview and the Need for Long-Term Surveillance

Growth hormone (GH) therapy is utilized since 1958 and has shown an excellent safety profile in the short term. However, its potential long-term side effects cannot be neglected.

In the past years, several observational studies in different cohorts of young adult patients treated with GH during childhood have produced inconsistent results. They mainly discussed three major potential risks associated with GH therapy, i.e. cancer, cardio and cerebrovascular diseases and diabetes. 

The available evidence of cancer, cardio-cerebrovascular and diabetes risk in young adulthood, associated with rhGH therapy in childhood, can be explained as-

Cancer risk- 

Low-risk group (IGHD, ISS and SGA) are not associated with increased risk, however, an increased risk of bone tumors is explained in the French SAGHE cohort.

Cardio-cerebrovascular risk

There is a potential increased risk, probably in union with other risk factors like family history, environment, lifestyle, ethnicity, comorbidities and, possibly, female gender. 

Type 2 Diabetes risk

There is a potential increased risk in presence of other risk factors like obesity, family history, sedentary lifestyle, and comorbidities.

Thus the patients with Pediatric rhGH Therapy should be monitored for these potential complications in the long run.

SOURCE= Cianfarani S. Safety of Pediatric rhGH Therapy: An Overview and the Need for Long-Term Surveillance. Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2021;12:811846. Published 2021 Dec 24. doi:10.3389/fendo.2021.811846

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