Objective: To test the hypothesis whether the effects of GH replacement therapy in adults could be affected by prior pituitary irradiation, the baseline characteristics and response to GH were evaluated in adults with severe GH deficiency (GHD), who had received or not irradiation for the treatment of pituitary adenoma or craniopharyngioma.
Design: Data from 447 patients, who had received radiotherapy (427 in addition to surgery), and 630 patients, who were operated on but not irradiated for their tumour, were retrieved from Pfizer International Metabolic Database (KIMS) and compared at baseline and 1 and 2 years following the onset of GH replacement.
Results: Irradiated and non-irradiated patients exhibited the expected phenotype of GHD at baseline. However, irradiated patients had a greater impairment in the quality of life (QoL), a higher fat mass, lower high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels and a lower bone mineral content (BMC) than non-irradiated patients. Treatment with GH induced similar changes in both groups. After 1 year of GH replacement, there was an increase in serum IGF-I and fat-free mass, a reduction in fat mass and an improvement in QoL, all changes being equivalent in irradiated and non-irradiated patients. The lipid profile also improved with the irradiated patients showing a better response. These beneficial effects were maintained and the BMC also increased in both groups by the second year of treatment.
Conclusions: This analysis shows that prior irradiation for pituitary adenoma or craniopharyngioma does not compromise the beneficial effects of GH replacement therapy.