Background: Advances in the therapy of malignant brain tumors in children have led to a significant improvement in survival rates over the last few decades. As a result, the recognition and treatment of late effects have become more important. In addition to secondary tumors and deficiencies in cognitive and intellectual skills, the resulting endocrine disturbances play an important role.
Method: Own data and literature review.
Results: Deviations from the normal growth hormone secretion are usually recognized first and are most common, and have already been observed after conventional whole brain irradiation with 18 Gy. With some delay, other hypothalamo-pituitary deficiencies may occur, including panhypopituitarism. Puberty may come too early or too late or may not appear at all. Girls in particular, frequently experience an early and rapid pubertal development after brain tumor therapy, which may lead to further reduction in height due to an accelerated bone maturation. Functional disturbances of the thyroid and adrenal glands due to hypothalamic or pituitary deficiency are less common, and usually seen only after a radiation dose of over 40 Gy.
Conclusion: Survivors of childhood brain tumors must be considered as long-term survivors, in whom the first therapy-induced long-term side effects appear almost immediately after the end of therapy. Maximum quality of life for the individual patient can only be achieved by long-term care and close cooperation of specialists in the different medical disciplines involved.