GH improves growth and clinical status in children with cystic fibrosis -- a review of published studies

Eur J Endocrinol. 2004 Aug:151 Suppl 1:S81-5. doi: 10.1530/eje.0.151s081.


Children with cystic fibrosis (CF) have problems with poor linear growth and inadequate weight gain. Nutritional augmentation has been the mainstay of therapy for improving both weight and height in CF; however, inadequate growth continues to be a problem. Furthermore, protein catabolism has been documented even in non-acutely ill adults and children with CF, and could adversely affect longitudinal growth. Human recombinant GH has positive effects on nitrogen balance, and multiple studies have demonstrated improved height and weight in children treated with GH. The purpose of this article is to summarize studies evaluating GH use in children with CF. All published studies of GH use in children with CF have demonstrated significant improvement in height velocity and height Z score. All studies but one, in which subjects were treated only three times per week with GH, have demonstrated improvement in weight as reported by weight velocity and/or weight Z score, and one trial has demonstrated a substantial improvement when GH was used to augment nutritional therapy. Several reports suggest that GH treatment results in improved forced vital capacity, and multiple studies have found improved clinical status as measured by decreased hospitalizations and courses of intravenous antibiotics. Furthermore studies to date also suggest that GH results in improvement in exercise tolerance and bone accumulation. To date significant side effects, including glucose intolerance, have not been reported. Thus mounting evidence suggests that human recombinant GH provides safe and effective therapy in children with CF.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Body Height
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Bone Development / drug effects
  • Child
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Cystic Fibrosis / drug therapy*
  • Human Growth Hormone / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Nutritional Status / drug effects
  • Physical Endurance / drug effects


  • Human Growth Hormone