Diseases in childhood have an impact on growth. The influence of Langerhans cell histiocytosis (LCH) on growth has never been studied well. Recently a patient with LCH was treated with human growth hormone (GH) because of severe GH deficiency due to LCH involvement of both the hypothalamus and pituitary. This led us to review our charts from 1971 onward for evaluation of the growth patterns in patients with LCH. Here the long-term growth of 22 patients with LCH is reported, the median follow up being 7 years and 1 month. The height data were converted into standard deviation scores (SDS). At diagnosis the mean SDS of patients with isolated LCH at diagnosis was 0.04 and −0.37 in patients with disseminated LCH. Of the total group, 12 patients did not show any influence from the LCH or therapy on their growth. The remaining 10 patients reached, after a minimum of 3 years, a percentile clearly higher than that at diagnosis. However all the ten above mentioned patients, either isolated or disseminated LCH, had a lesion in the facial side of the skull.
GH deficiency is not a common manifestation of LCH in childhood and GH provocation tests are only indicated when there is a poor or decelerating growth rate. In our patients the number of organs involved and/or the treatment modality did not influence the growth in all but one.
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