Obesity and metabolic changes are common in young childhood brain tumor survivors

Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2009 Jul;52(7):853-9. doi: 10.1002/pbc.21936.


Background: A population based cross-sectional study was used to examine the prevalence of metabolic syndrome and its components in childhood brain tumor survivors.

Procedure: Fifty-two survivors were examined at a mean age of 14.4 years (range 3.8-28.7). Lipid and glucose metabolism, thyroid function, and plasma uric acid were evaluated. Fat mass and fat percentage were assessed by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA). Metabolic syndrome was defined on International Diabetes Federation criteria.

Results: Ten (19%) patients were overweight and four (8%) were obese. According to DXA, 16/46 (35%) patients were obese. Central obesity was found in 11 (21%) patients. Cranial irradiation, hypothalamic/hypophyseal damage, growth hormone (GH) deficiency and impaired mobility were associated with overweight/obesity and central obesity. Thirteen (25%) subjects had hypercholesterolemia, 14 (27%) had raised low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), 12 (23%) had raised blood pressure, four (8%) had metabolic syndrome, two (4%) had hyperinsulinemia and five (10%) had hyperuricemia. Cranial irradiation was associated with hypercholesterolemia (P = 0.019), raised LDL-C (P = 0.028), raised blood pressure (P = 0.040), and metabolic syndrome (P = 0.018). Impaired mobility was associated with hypercholesterolemia (P = 0.034). Hypothalamic/hypophyseal damage was associated with metabolic syndrome (P = 0.003) and hyperuricemia (P = 0.011) as was GH deficiency (P = 0.034 and P = 0.008). GH supplementation alleviated adverse metabolic outcomes among brain tumor survivors with GH deficiency.

Conclusions: Obesity/overweight, dyslipidemia, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, and hyperuricemia were common in young childhood brain tumor survivors. Cranial irradiation, hypothalamic/hypophyseal damage, growth hormone deficiency, and/or impaired mobility were associated with higher risk for obesity and metabolic changes among these patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / adverse effects
  • Brain Neoplasms / mortality
  • Brain Neoplasms / physiopathology*
  • Brain Neoplasms / therapy
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Cranial Irradiation
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Human Growth Hormone / deficiency
  • Humans
  • Lipids / analysis
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / mortality
  • Metabolic Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / therapy
  • Obesity / mortality
  • Obesity / physiopathology*
  • Obesity / therapy
  • Survival Rate
  • Young Adult


  • Lipids
  • Human Growth Hormone