Recombinant human growth hormone (rhGH) is licensed for short stature associated with growth hormone deficiency (GHD), Turner syndrome (TS), Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS), chronic renal insufficiency (CRI), short stature homeobox-containing gene deficiency (SHOX-D) and being born small for gestational age (SGA).
To assess the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of rhGH compared with treatment strategies without rhGH for children with GHD, TS, PWS, CRI, SHOX-D and those born SGA.
The systematic review used a priori methods. Key databases were searched (e.g. MEDLINE, EMBASE, NHS Economic Evaluation Database and eight others) for relevant studies from their inception to June 2009. A decision-analytical model was developed to determine cost-effectiveness in the UK.
Two reviewers assessed titles and abstracts of studies identified by the search strategy, obtained the full text of relevant papers, and screened them against inclusion criteria. STUDY APPRAISAL: Data from included studies were extracted by one reviewer and checked by a second. Quality of included studies was assessed using standard criteria, applied by one reviewer and checked by a second. Clinical effectiveness studies were synthesised through a narrative review.
Twenty-eight randomised controlled trials (RCTs) in 34 publications were included in the systematic review. GHD: Children in the rhGH group grew 2.7 cm/year faster than untreated children and had a statistically significantly higher height standard deviation score (HtSDS) after 1 year: -2.3 ± 0.45 versus -2.8 ± 0.45. TS: In one study, treated girls grew 9.3 cm more than untreated girls. In a study of younger children, the difference was 7.6 cm after 2 years. HtSDS values were statistically significantly higher in treated girls. PWS: Infants receiving rhGH for 1 year grew significantly taller (6.2 cm more) than those untreated. Two studies reported a statistically significant difference in HtSDS in favour of rhGH. CRI: rhGH-treated children in a 1-year study grew an average of 3.6 cm more than untreated children. HtSDS was statistically significantly higher in treated children in two studies. SGA: Criteria were amended to include children of 3+ years with no catch-up growth, with no reference to mid-parental height. Only one of the RCTs used the licensed dose; the others used higher doses. Adult height (AH) was approximately 4 cm higher in rhGH-treated patients in the one study to report this outcome, and AH-gain SDS was also statistically significantly higher in this group. Mean HtSDS was higher in treated than untreated patients in four other studies (significant in two). SHOX-D: After 2 years' treatment, children were approximately 6 cm taller than the control group and HtSDS was statistically significantly higher in treated children. The incremental cost per quality adjusted life-year (QALY) estimates of rhGH compared with no treatment were: 23,196 pounds for GHD, 39,460 pounds for TS, 135,311 pounds for PWS, 39,273 pounds for CRI, 33,079 pounds for SGA and 40,531 pounds for SHOX-D. The probability of treatment of each of the conditions being cost-effective at 30,000 pounds was: 95% for GHD, 19% for TS, 1% for PWS, 16% for CRI, 38% for SGA and 15% for SHOX-D.
Generally poorly reported studies, some of short duration.
Statistically significantly larger HtSDS values were reported for rhGH-treated children with GHD, TS, PWS, CRI, SGA and SHOX-D. rhGH-treated children with PWS also showed statistically significant improvements in body composition measures. Only treatment of GHD would be considered cost-effective at a willingness-to-pay threshold of 20,000 to 30,000 pounds per QALY gained. This analysis suggests future research should include studies of longer than 2 years reporting near-final height or final adult height.