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Acta Paediatr Suppl. 1995 Sep;411:45-50; discussion 51.

Growth, puberty and obesity after treatment for leukaemia.

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University Department of Paediatrics, Children's Hospital Sheffield, UK.


Final height, body proportions, pubertal growth and body mass index were studied retrospectively in 142 survivors of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL). Treatment consisted of combination chemotherapy and cranial irradiation (18 or 24 Gy). Significant standing height loss and disproportion, with a relatively short back, was seen in both radiation dose groups. Girls were more severely affected than boys. Pubertal growth was adversely affected, with a reduction in peak height velocity in both sexes. Puberty occurred early in girls but at the normal time in boys. Nearly half the group were obese at final height, with no significant difference in incidence between the sexes. The relative roles of cranial irradiation and chemotherapy in the disturbance of growth, puberty and body composition observed in survivors of childhood ALL remain unclear. The aetiology is almost certainly multifactorial, with radiation-induced growth hormone insufficiency, early puberty, steroids and chemotherapy all having a role.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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