Clinical impact of hypothalamic-pituitary disorders after conformal radiation therapy for pediatric low-grade glioma or ependymoma

Laura van Iersel, Hanneke M van Santen, Brian Potter, Zhenghong Li, Heather M Conklin, Hui Zhang, Wassim Chemaitilly, Thomas E Merchant

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BACKGROUND: To determine the impact of hypothalamic-pituitary (HP) disorders on health outcomes in children and adolescents who received conformal radiation therapy (RT) for central nervous system tumors.

PROCEDURE: Cohort study including 355 patients (age ≤25 years at diagnosis) treated with high-dose (50.4-59.4 Gy) RT using photons for low-grade glioma or ependymoma. Patients (median age, 6.4 years at RT) received systematic endocrine follow-up (median duration, 10.1 years; range, 0.1-19.6). Associations between HP disorders and adverse health outcomes were determined by multivariable analysis.

RESULTS: Prevalence was 37.2% for growth hormone deficiency (GHD), 17.7% for gonadotropin deficiency (LH/FSHD), 14.9% for thyroid-stimulating hormone deficiency (TSHD), 10.3% for adrenocorticotropic hormone deficiency (ACTHD), and 12.6% for central precocious puberty (CPP). Hypothalamus mean dose ≥ 36 Gy was associated with higher odds of any deficiency. GHD was associated with short stature (OR 2.77; 95% CI 1.34-5.70), low bone mineral density (OR 3.47; 95% CI 1.16-10.40), and TSHD with dyslipidemia (OR 5.54; 95% CI 1.66-18.52). Patients with ACTHD and CPP had lower intelligence quotient scores, and memory scores were impaired in patients with GHD (P = 0.02). Treatment of GHD was not associated with increased risk for tumor recurrence, secondary tumors, or mortality.

CONCLUSIONS: HP disorders occur frequently in patients receiving high-dose RT and are related to physical and neurocognitive well-being. Future studies are needed to assess whether further optimization of endocrine management yields better health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere28723
JournalPediatric Blood & Cancer
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020


  • central nervous system neoplasms
  • childhood cancer survivor
  • hypopituitarism
  • radiotherapy


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