Risk of Meningioma in European Patients Treated With Growth Hormone in Childhood: Results From the SAGhE Cohort

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2019 Mar 1;104(3):658-664. doi: 10.1210/jc.2018-01133.


Context: There has been concern that GH treatment of children might increase meningioma risk. Results of published studies have been inconsistent and limited.

Objective: To examine meningioma risks in relation to GH treatment.

Design: Cohort study with follow-up via cancer registries and other registers.

Setting: Population-based.

Patients: A cohort of 10,403 patients treated in childhood with recombinant GH in five European countries since this treatment was first used in 1984. Expected rates from national cancer registration statistics.

Main outcome measures: Risk of meningioma incidence.

Results: During follow-up, 38 meningiomas occurred. Meningioma risk was greatly raised in the cohort overall [standardized incidence ratio (SIR) = 75.4; 95% CI: 54.9 to 103.6], as a consequence of high risk in subjects who had received radiotherapy for underlying malignancy (SIR = 658.4; 95% CI: 460.4 to 941.7). Risk was not significantly raised in patients who did not receive radiotherapy. Risk in radiotherapy-treated patients was not significantly related to mean daily dose of GH, duration of GH treatment, or cumulative dose of GH.

Conclusions: Our data add to evidence of very high risk of meningioma in patients treated in childhood with GH after cranial radiotherapy, but suggest that GH may not affect radiotherapy-related risk, and that there is no material raised risk of meningioma in GH-treated patients who did not receive radiotherapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cranial Irradiation / adverse effects
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Growth Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Human Growth Hormone / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Meningeal Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Meningeal Neoplasms / etiology
  • Meningioma / epidemiology*
  • Meningioma / etiology
  • Neoplasms, Second Primary / epidemiology*
  • Neoplasms, Second Primary / etiology
  • Recombinant Proteins / adverse effects
  • Registries / statistics & numerical data
  • Risk Assessment
  • Young Adult


  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Human Growth Hormone