The spontaneous secretion of growth hormone during a 24 hour period and the response of growth hormone to growth hormone releasing hormone was studied in 13 girls who had received treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia that included cranial irradiation with 20-24 Gy in 12-14 fractions. At the time of investigation the girls were at varying stages of puberty and had normal concentrations of thyroid hormones. The mean interval between the end of treatment and investigation was 4.6 years. The mean age at onset of the disease was 3.2 years and at investigation 10.7 years. The average attained height equalled -0.3 SD at onset, and -1.0 SD at the time of investigation. Secretion of growth hormone was substantially reduced compared with controls and did not increase during puberty. A prompt rise in growth hormone secretion was seen after injection of growth hormone releasing hormone, but the mean maximum growth hormone concentration was, however, only 25 mU/l. There was no correlation between the 24 hour secretion and growth hormone response to growth hormone releasing hormone, or the time since irradiation. These results confirm earlier work that suggested that girls who had received treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, that included cranial irradiation, have a comparative growth hormone insufficiency characterised by normal prepubertal growth and slow growth during puberty because of an inability to respond to the increased demands for growth hormone at that time.
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