OBJECTIVE: Medulloblastomas demonstrate histological features similar to neuroendocrine tumors. Expression of various receptors for growth factors and production of growth hormones have been identified to occur with medulloblastomas. We studied the preoperative height of patients with medulloblastomas.
METHODS: We studied 85 patients (64 children and 21 adults) with medulloblastomas and 42 patients (27 children and 15 adults) with cerebellar astrocytomas who served as a control group. All of the patients had their height and weight documented on standardized growth charts. In addition, age, sex, symptoms, radiographic findings, treatment, and survival were examined.
RESULTS: Preoperatively, 22.4% of the patients with medulloblastomas were above the 95% curve in height and 80.0% were above the 50% curve for height. Compared with patients with cerebellar astrocytomas, 7.1% were above the 95% curve for height and 54.8% were above the 50% curve for height. The distribution of patients along the weight curves for both tumor types demonstrated a slight prevalence for lower weights but was not significantly different from the national average. A significant number of patients presenting with medulloblastomas attained increased height, which was disproportionate to the weight loss generally observed with neoplasms. To our knowledge, the disproportionate number of patients with medulloblastomas and increased height has not been reported before. A similar deviation in height distribution from the normal population could not be identified in patients with cerebellar astrocytomas.
CONCLUSION: This study suggests that medulloblastomas may be influenced by growth hormone production or may produce growth factors in vivo.
Division of Neurosurgery, University of Iowa College of Medicine, Iowa City, Iowa
Received, January 6, 1997. Accepted, March 25, 1997.
Reprint requests: Arnold H. Menezes, M.D., Division of Neurosurgery, University of Iowa College of Medicine, 200 Hawkins Drive, Iowa City, IA 52242.