Rapid progressive central precocious puberty: diagnostic and predictive value of basal sex hormone levels and pelvic ultrasound

Valeria Calcaterra, Catherine Klersy, Federica Vinci, Corrado Regalbuto, Giulia Dobbiani, Chiara Montalbano, Gloria Pelizzo, Riccardo Albertini, Daniela Larizza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives Data on the predictive values of parameters included in the diagnostic work-up for precocious puberty (PP) remain limited. We detected the diagnostic value of basal sex hormone levels, pelvic ultrasound parameters and bone age assessment for activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis in girls with PP, in order to help in the decision to perform GnRH testing. Patients and methods We retrospectively considered 177 girls with PP. According to puberty evolution, the girls were divided into two groups: rapid progressive central precocious puberty (RP-CPP) and non/slowly progressive/transient forms (SP-PP). In all patients we considered Tanner stage, basal luteinizing hormone (LH) and estradiol (E2) values, bone age, and pelvis examination. We assessed the diagnostic value of each variable and identified the number of pathological parameters that best identify patients with RP-CPP. Results Basal LH ≥ 0.2IU/L, E2 level ≥ 50 pmol/L, uterine longitudinal diameter ≥ 3.5 cm, transverse uterine diameter ≥ 1.5 cm, endometrial echo and ovarian volume ≥ 2 cm3 were significantly associated with RP-CPP (p ≤ 0.01). The ability to diagnose RP-CPP was enhanced with increasing number of pathological hormonal and instrumental parameters (p < 0.001). With more than three parameters detected, sensitivity and specificity reached 58% (95%CI 48-67) and 85% (95%CI 74-92), respectively, with a PPV = 86% (95%CI 76-93) and PPN = 54% (95%CI 43-54); the area under the ROC curve was 0.71 (95%CI 0.65-0.78). Conclusion Despite the availability of different tests, diagnosing RP-CPP remains difficult. A diagnosis model including at least three hormonal and/or ultrasound parameters may serve as a useful preliminary step in selecting patients who require GnRH testing for early detection of RC-PP.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)785-791
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of pediatric endocrinology & metabolism : JPEM
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - May 22 2020


  • basal
  • central precocious puberty
  • estradiol
  • LH
  • sex hormones
  • ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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