Effect of oxandrolone and timing of oral ethinylestradiol initiation on pubertal progression, height velocity and bone maturation in the UK Turner study

Horm Res Paediatr. 2014;81(5):298-308. doi: 10.1159/000356924. Epub 2014 Apr 15.


Background: A UK study showed final height in Turner syndrome (TS) girls receiving growth hormone is affected by age at pubertal induction and oxandrolone (Ox). Using data from that study, we analysed the effect of timing of oral ethinylestradiol (EE2) and Ox on height velocity (HV), bone maturation and pubertal progression, and compared growth response in EE2-treated versus spontaneous puberty.

Methods: Analysis of HV, bone age and pubertal stage in 92 TS girls (7-13 years) randomised to Ox (0.05 mg/kg/day; max: 2.5 mg/day) or placebo from 9 years, and EE2 (year 1: 2 µg/day; year 2: 4 µg/day; year 3: 6/8/10 µg/day×4 months) or placebo at 12 years with EE2 at 14 years. Girls enrolled at >12.25 years received EE2 at 14 years ('late group').

Results: Fifty-six girls were randomised to EE2 at 12 years (n=28, 11 Ox) or 14 years (n=28, 13 Ox); there were 19 girls in the late group (9 Ox) and 17 girls with spontaneous puberty (10 Ox). Girls receiving EE2 at 12 versus 14 years had faster bone maturation, but neither group showed acceleration. Ox increased HV without altering bone maturation or pubertal progression. Girls with spontaneous puberty had greater pubertal growth (mean PHV 8.5 cm/year; p<0.001) and height gain (p<0.001) than EE2-treated girls despite similar mean enrolment height SD and dysmorphology scores.

Conclusion: Pubertal induction with EE2 does not replicate the acceleration observed in unaffected girls or TS girls with spontaneous puberty.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adolescent
  • Androgens / administration & dosage*
  • Estrogens / administration & dosage*
  • Ethinyl Estradiol
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Oxandrolone / administration & dosage*
  • Puberty / drug effects*
  • Turner Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Turner Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • United Kingdom


  • Androgens
  • Estrogens
  • Ethinyl Estradiol
  • Oxandrolone