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Open Access Research article

Health-related quality of life of young adults with Turner syndrome following a long-term randomized controlled trial of recombinant human growth hormone

Shayne P Taback13* and Guy Van Vliet23

Author Affiliations

1 Departments of Pediatrics and Child Health and Community Health Sciences, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, R3T 2N2, Canada

2 Endocrinology Service and Research Center, Sainte-Justine Hospital and Department of Pediatrics, University of Montreal, Montreal, QC, H3T 1C5, Canada

3 Canadian Pediatric Endocrinology Group, Canada

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BMC Pediatrics 2011, 11:49  doi:10.1186/1471-2431-11-49

Published: 29 May 2011

Abstract

Background

There are limited long-term randomized controlled trials of growth hormone (GH) supplementation to adult height and few published reports of the health-related quality of life (HRQOL) following treatment. The present follow-up study of young adults from a long-term controlled trial of GH treatment in patients with Turner syndrome (TS) yielded data to examine whether GH supplementation resulted in a higher HRQOL (either due to taller stature or from the knowledge that active treatment and not placebo had been received) or alternatively a lower HRQOL (due to medicalization from years of injections).

Methods

The original trial randomized 154 Canadian girls with TS aged 7-13 years from 13 centres to receive either long-term GH injections at the pharmacologic dose of 0.3 mg/kg/week or to receive no injections; estrogen prescription for induction of puberty was standardized. Patients were eligible for the follow-up study if they were at least 16 years old at the time of follow-up. The instrument used to study HRQOL was the SF-36, summarized into physical and mental component scales (PCS and MCS); higher scores indicate better HRQOL.

Results

Thirty-four of the 48 eligible participants (71%) consented to participate; data were missing for one patient. Both groups (GH and no treatment) had normal HRQOL at this post-treatment assessment. The GH group had a (mean ± SD) PCS score of 56 ± 5; the untreated group 58 ± 4; mean score for 16-24 year old females in the general population 53.5 ± 6.9. The GH group had a mean MCS score of 52 ± 6; the untreated group 49 ± 13; mean score for 16-24 year old females in the general population 49.6 ± 9.8. Secondary analyses showed no relationship between HRQOL and height.

Conclusions

We found no benefit or adverse effect on HRQOL either from receiving or not receiving growth hormone injections in a long-term randomized controlled trial, confirming larger observational studies. We suggest that it remains ethically acceptable as well as necessary to maintain a long-term untreated control group to estimate the effects of pharmacological agents to manipulate adult height. Young adult women with TS have normal HRQOL suggesting that they adjust well to their challenges in life.

Trial Registration

ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier NCT00191113.