Two years in growth hormone 2017–18

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This brief review highlights new studies in three areas of the GH field, namely diagnostics, therapeutics and biomarkers.

The diagnosis of GH deficiency has always presented a challenge: there is no “gold standard” test of GH status, and GH levels during stimulation testing are affected by many factors that limit diagnostic accuracy. Two new approaches to diagnosis have been proposed: one involves a classical endocrine test of GH production using a GH secretagogue to test the Ghrelin axis, and shows promise in the diagnosis of adult GH deficiency. The other uses a completely different approach analysing the individual's gene expression profile as a surrogate for GH status with high levels of test accuracy.

From the therapeutic aspect, there have been significant efforts to produce a long-acting (LA) GH on the premise that this will improve adherence and patient convenience. Aspects of LA-GH pharmacology are considered, and it will be interesting to see in future years what place LA-GH GH takes in the market. Long term surveillance is a vital part of therapeutics; recent studies across Europe have provided reassurance on the safety of recombinant human GH (r-hGH) for those with uncomplicated growth disorders, but do emphasise the need to continue observation through adulthood.

The search for biomarkers that precisely reflect GH action in children and adults is an ongoing task. One of the newer bone markers that shows promise is a fragment of collagen type X which now requires further investigation in humans. In parallel with the diagnostic studies, gene expression profiles at the start of r-hGH treatment have been used to predict GH response in children with GHD and girls with Turner syndrome. These data are promising but need evaluation across a range of growth disorders.

R-hGH is an effective, safe therapy used in both children and adults. There is however a need to continue to refine diagnosis, treatment and most importantly long-term pharmacovigilance to ensure that the right patients have the best treatment with robust safety profiles.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-64
Number of pages5
JournalGrowth Hormone & IGF Research
Early online date24 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019


  • growth disorders/diagnosis
  • human growth hormone/therapeutic use
  • humans
  • time factors


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