Leukemia in growth-hormone-treated patients: an update, 1992

Horm Res. 1992;38 Suppl 1:56-62. doi: 10.1159/000182571.


Since 1988 the number of growth hormone (GH)-treated patients has markedly increased worldwide. To date, leukemia has been observed in 31 patients during or following GH therapy and related malignancies in 2 further patients. Leukemia occurred in 10 patients in Japan, 10 in the USA, and 10 in Europe, and in 1 patient in Canada. In 29 patients GH therapy had been started in 1975 or later. The onset of leukemia was 1984 or later in 28 patients with a mean time between the start of GH therapy and leukemia onset of 5.0 (0.2-18.8) years. Patients had received both pituitary and recombinant GH in moderate doses. In 15 patients definite additional leukemia risk was evident: Fanconi anemia in 2, myelodysplastic syndrome in 1, Bloom's syndrome in 1, radiation for brain tumor (+chemotherapy) in 9, chemotherapy in 2. The leukemic patients without a strong additional risk do not represent a definitely higher leukemia incidence worldwide, except for Japan where the occurrence is higher than expected.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Growth Hormone / adverse effects*
  • Growth Hormone / deficiency
  • Growth Hormone / therapeutic use
  • Hematopoiesis / drug effects
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Leukemia / epidemiology
  • Leukemia / etiology*
  • Risk Factors


  • Growth Hormone