Safety of growth hormone after treatment of a childhood malignancy

Horm Res. 1995:44 Suppl 3:73-9. doi: 10.1159/000184677.


The use of growth hormone therapy in children with radiation-induced growth hormone (GH) deficiency is widely accepted, but the safety of this mitogenic hormone, particularly in children previously treated for cancer, continues to cause concern. A variety of malignant tumours have been induced in animals exposed to supraphysiological doses of GH, whereas hypophysectomised animals appear protected from carcinogen-induced neoplasms. Growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor-1 have been shown to stimulate both proliferation and transformation of normal and leukaemic human lymphocytes in vitro when used in supraphysiological doses. Despite the theoretical arguments, there is no evidence of an increased risk of tumour recurrence following GH therapy in replacement dosage in children previously treated for a malignancy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Child
  • Growth Hormone / deficiency*
  • Growth Hormone / radiation effects
  • Growth Hormone / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / radiotherapy
  • Radiotherapy / adverse effects
  • Safety


  • Growth Hormone