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Orphanet J Rare Dis. 2011 Oct 24;6:67. doi: 10.1186/1750-1172-6-67.

Sporadic and genetic forms of paediatric somatotropinoma: a retrospective analysis of seven cases and a review of the literature.

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Fédération d'Endocrinologie du Pôle Est, Groupement Hospitalier Lyon Est, 69677, Bron, Cedex, France.



Somatotropinoma, a pituitary adenoma characterised by excessive production of growth hormone (GH), is extremely rare in childhood. A genetic defect is evident in some cases; known genetic changes include: multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1); Carney complex; McCune-Albright syndrome; and, more recently identified, aryl hydrocarbon receptor-interacting protein (AIP). We describe seven children with somatotropinoma with a special focus on the differences between genetic and sporadic forms.


Seven children who presented in our regional network between 1992 and 2008 were included in this retrospective analysis. First-type therapy was somatostatin (SMS) analogues or transsphenoidal surgery. Control was defined as when insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) levels were within the normal range for the patient's age at 6 months after therapy, associated with decreasing tumour volume.


Patients were aged 5-17 years and the majority (n = 6) were male. Four patients had an identified genetic mutation (McCune-Albright syndrome: n = 1; MEN1: n = 1; AIP: n = 2); the remaining three cases were sporadic. Accelerated growth rate was reported as the first clinical sign in four patients. Five patients presented with macroadenoma; invasion was noted in four of them (sporadic: n = 1; genetic: n = 3). Six patients were treated with SMS analogues; normalisation of IGF-1 occurred in one patient who had a sporadic intrasellar macroadenoma. Multiple types of therapy were necessary in all patients with an identified genetic mutation (4 types: n = 1; 3 types: n = 2; 2 types: n = 1), whereas two of the three patients with sporadic somatotropinoma required only one type of therapy.


This is the first series that analyzes the therapeutic response of somatotropinoma in paediatric patients with identified genetic defects. We found that, in children, genetic somatotropinomas are more invasive than sporadic somatotropinomas. Furthermore, SMS analogues appear to be less effective for treating genetic somatotropinoma than sporadic somatotropinoma.

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