The objective of this study was to analyze whether some auxological characteristics or a single basal gonadotropin measurement will be sufficient to distinguish the prepubertal from pubertal status.
Auxologycal characteristics were recorded and serum LH and FSH were measured by immunochemiluminescence assays before and after GnRH stimulation test in a sample of 241 Caucasian girls with breast budding between 6- and 8-years old. Peak LH levels higher than 5 IU/L were considered a pubertal response. Area under the curve, cut-off points, sensitivity, and specificity for auxologycal variables and basal gonadotropins levels were determined by receiver operating curves.
There were no significant differences in age at onset, weight, height, BMI and height velocity between both groups. Bone age was significantly higher in pubertal girls (P < 0.05), although with limited discriminatory capacity. The sensitivity and specificity for the basal LH levels were 89 and 82%, respectively, for a cut off point of 0.1 IU/L. All girls in the pubertal group had a basal LH higher than 1.0 IU/L (positive predictive value of 100%). There was a wide overlap of basal FSH and LH/FSH ratio between prepubertal and pubertal girls.
Auxologycal characteristics should not be used only in the differential diagnosis between prepubertal from pubertal status in 6- to 8-year-old girls. We found a high specificity of a single basal LH sample and it would be useful for establishing the diagnosis of puberty in this age group, reducing the need for GnRH stimulation testing.