The impact of treatment with either cranial or craniospinal irradiation with or without cytotoxic chemotherapy for a brain tumour distant from the hypothalamic-pituitary axis was assessed in 29 children who had reached final height. All had received growth hormone treatment for radiation induced growth hormone deficiency. Final height, segmental growth during puberty, and duration of puberty were studied. Both craniospinal irradiation and the use of chemotherapy resulted in a significant and equal reduction in final height; this effect in those children who received both craniospinal irradiation and chemotherapy was additive. The degree of height loss was related to the age at irradiation, the most profound effect on final height occurring in the youngest at irradiation. The mean duration of puberty from G2-G4/B2-B4 (1.97 years) was not significantly different from the duration of puberty in normal children. Growth hormone increases growth velocity in children with radiation induced growth hormone deficiency but their final height is significantly less than their mid-parental height. The use of spinal irradiation and chemotherapy in the original treatment of brain tumours has a marked effect on growth which is not overcome with the use of growth hormone treatment in current doses. Early puberty of normal duration contributes to poor growth.
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