Precision medicine employs digital tools and knowledge of a patient’s genetic makeup, environment and lifestyle to improve diagnostic accuracy and to develop individualised treatment and prevention strategies. Precision medicine has improved management in a number of disease areas, most notably in oncology, and it has the potential to positively impact others, including endocrine disorders. The accuracy of diagnosis in young patients with growth disorders can be improved by using biomarkers. Insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) is the most widely accepted biomarker of growth hormone secretion, but its predictive value for recombinant human growth hormone treatment response is modest and various factors can affect the accuracy of IGF-I measurements. These factors need to be taken into account when considering IGF-I as a component of precision medicine in the management of growth hormone deficiency. The use of genetic analyses can assist with diagnosis by confirming the aetiology, facilitate treatment decisions, guide counselling and allow prompt intervention in children with pubertal disorders, such as central precocious puberty and testotoxicosis. Precision medicine has also proven useful during the transition of young people with endocrine disorders from paediatric to adult services when patients are at heightened risk of dropping out from medical care. An understanding of the likelihood of ongoing GH deficiency, using tools such as MRI, detailed patient history and IGF-I levels, can assist in determining the need for continued recombinant human growth hormone treatment during the process of transitional care.
Martin Bidlingmaier, Helena Gleeson, Ana-Claudia Latronico, and Martin O Savage
Anita Hokken-Koelega, Aart-Jan van der Lely, Berthold Hauffa, Gabriele Häusler, Gudmundur Johannsson, Mohamad Maghnie, Jesús Argente, Jean DeSchepper, Helena Gleeson, John W Gregory, Charlotte Höybye, Fahrettin Keleştimur, Anton Luger, Hermann L Müller, Sebastian Neggers, Vera Popovic-Brkic, Eleonora Porcu, Lars Sävendahl, Stephen Shalet, Bessie Spiliotis, and Maithé Tauber
Seamless transition of endocrine patients from the paediatric to adult setting is still suboptimal, especially in patients with complex disorders, i.e., small for gestational age, Turner or Prader–Willi syndromes; Childhood Cancer Survivors, and those with childhood-onset growth hormone deficiency.
An expert panel meeting comprised of European paediatric and adult endocrinologists was convened to explore the current gaps in managing the healthcare of patients with endocrine diseases during transition from paediatric to adult care settings.
While a consensus was reached that a team approach is best, discussions revealed that a ‘one size fits all’ model for transition is largely unsuccessful in these patients. They need more tailored care during adolescence to prevent complications like failure to achieve target adult height, reduced bone mineral density, morbid obesity, metabolic perturbations (obesity and body composition), inappropriate/inadequate puberty, compromised fertility, diminished quality of life and failure to adapt to the demands of adult life. Sometimes it is difficult for young people to detach emotionally from their paediatric endocrinologist and/or the abrupt change from an environment of parental responsibility to one of autonomy. Discussions about impending transition and healthcare autonomy should begin in early adolescence and continue throughout young adulthood to ensure seamless continuum of care and optimal treatment outcomes.
Even amongst a group of healthcare professionals with a great interest in improving transition services for patients with endocrine diseases, there is still much work to be done to improve the quality of healthcare for transition patients.