Regular monitoring of serum IGF-I levels during growth hormone (GH) therapy has been recommended, for assessing treatment compliance and safety.
To investigate serum IGF-I SDS levels during GH treatment in children with GH deficiency, and to identify potential determinants of these levels.
Design, patients and methods
This observational cohort study included all patients (n = 308) with childhood-onset non-acquired or acquired GH deficiency (GHD) included in the database of a single academic pediatric care center over a period of 10 years for whom at least one serum IGF-I SDS determination during GH treatment was available. These determinations had to have been carried out centrally, with the same immunoradiometric assay. Serum IGF-I SDS levels were determined as a function of sex, age and pubertal stage, according to our published normative data.
Over a median of 4.0 (2–5.8) years of GH treatment per patient, 995 serum IGF-I SDS determinations were recorded. In addition to BMI SDS, height SDS and GH dose (P < 0.01), etiological group (P < 0.01) had a significant effect on serum IGF-I SDS levels, with patients suffering from acquired GHD having higher serum IGF-I SDS levels than those with non-acquired GHD, whereas sex, age, pubertal stage, treatment duration, hormonal status (isolated GHD (IGHD) vs multiple pituitary hormone deficiency (MPHD)) and initial severity of GHD, had no effect.
These original findings have important clinical implications for long-term management and highlight the need for careful and appropriate monitoring of serum IGF-I SDS and GH dose, particularly in patients with acquired GHD, to prevent the unnecessary impact of potential comorbid conditions.