Accuracy and Limitations of the Growth Hormone (GH) Releasing Hormone-Arginine Retesting in Young Adults With Childhood-Onset GH Deficiency

Giuseppa Patti, Serena Noli, Donatella Capalbo, Anna Maria Elsa Allegri, Flavia Napoli, Marco Cappa, Grazia Maria Ubertini, Annalisa Gallizia, Sara Notarnicola, Anastasia Ibba, Marco Crocco, Stefano Parodi, Mariacarolina Salerno, Sandro Loche, Maria Luisa Garré, Elena Tornari, Mohamad Maghnie, Natascia Di Iorgi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Re-testing for GH secretion is needed to confirm the diagnosis of GH deficiency (GHD) after adult height achievement in childhood-onset GHD (COGHD). Aim: To define the cut-off of GH peak after retesting with GH-releasing hormone plus arginine (GHRHarg) in the diagnosis of permanent GHD in COGHD of different etiology. Patients and methods: Eighty-eight COGHD (median age 17.2 y), 29 idiopathic GHD (IGHD), 44 cancer survivors (TGHD) and 15 congenital GHD (CGHD) were enrolled in the study; 54 had isolated GHD (iGHD) and 34 had multiple pituitary hormone deficiencies (MPHD). All were tested with insulin tolerance test (ITT) and GHRHarg. IGHD with a GH response to ITT ≥6μg/L were considered true negatives and served as the control group, and patients with a GH response <6μg/L as true positives. Baseline IGF-I was also measured. The diagnostic accuracy of GHRHarg testing and of IGF-I SDS in patients with GHD of different etiologies was evaluated by ROC analysis. Results: Forty-six subjects with a GH peak to ITT ≥6μg/L and 42 with GH peak <6 μg/L showed a GH peak after GHRHarg between 8.8-124μg/L and 0.3-26.3μg/L, respectively; 29 IGHD were true negatives, 42 were true positives and 17 with a high likelihood GHD showed a GH peak to ITT ≥6μg/L. ROC analysis based on the etiology indicated the best diagnostic accuracy for peak GH cutoffs after GHRHarg of 25.3 μg/L in CGHD, 15.7 in TGHD, and 13.8 in MPHD, and for IGF-1 SDS at -2.1 in CGHD, -1.5 in TGHD, and -1.9 in MPHD. Conclusions: Our findings indicate that the best cut-off for GH peak after retesting with GHRHarg changes according to the etiology of GHD during the transition age. Based on these results the diagnostic accuracy of GHRHarg remains questionable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)525
JournalFrontiers in Endocrinology
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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