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Bone Marrow Transplant. 1997 Oct;20(7):567-73.

Growth after recombinant human growth hormone (rhGH) treatment in transplanted thalassemic patients.

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Clinica Pediatrica-Dipartimento Medicina Sperimentale, Universita' di L'Aquila, Italy.


The aim of this study was to evaluate the treatment effects with recombinant human growth hormone (rhGH) in a group of patients after bone marrow transplantation for thalassemia major. At the end of treatment we divided the subjects into two groups according to the outcome of the therapy: responder and nonresponder. Responder group: after 24 months of rhGH administration, growth rate was still significantly higher in respect to start of treatment (P < 0.0001). Plasma levels of IGF-I rose significantly (P < 0.003). The serum levels of serum asparate aminotransferase (SGOT) and alanine aminotransferase (SGPT) were higher compared to normal values but improved in non-responder patients. There was no difference in the mean concentration of these parameters before and after treatment (P = NS). Non-responder group: these patients had a worsening of the growth rate during rhGH administration. There was no increase of the IGF-I levels. Single values of transaminase and ferritin levels were higher than in responder patients before and after treatment. There was a significant correlation between IGF-I, SGOT, SGPT and ferritin in all patients before and after therapy. It appears from these data that rhGH administration is worth serious consideration in patients after BMT for thalassemia major presenting impaired growth hormone secretion. This treatment can offer good results only in cases where the normal hepatic synthesis of IGF-I is conserved and where liver damage has not reached irreversible conditions, as we have seen in the responder group.

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