OBJECTIVE: Hypothalamic obesity (HO) in children after treatment for a tumor in the suprasellar region has severe implications. Previous studies have shown various effects of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist in acquired HO, but in adults only. We present our experience of GLP-1 receptor agonist (exenatide) treatment during a 1-year period on body mass index (BMI) in children with acquired HO.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Children with severe weight gain after treatment for suprasellar tumor were given 2 mg exenatide weekly for a 12-month period. All had undergone previous dietary intervention. BMI standard deviation score (SDS), weight change, and adverse effects were assessed.
RESULTS: Five children with a mean age of 15.4 years (range 13-18) and a mean follow-up time of 8.4 years (mean age of 7.0 years at the time of brain tumor diagnosis) were treated with GLP-1 receptor agonist. After 1 year, BMI SDS or absolute weight had not changed significantly compared to the period without treatment (BMI SDS change +0.005, 95% CI -0.07 to 0.08, p = 0.89, and absolute weight change +1.5 kg, 95% CI -0.08 to 3.1, p = 0.061). Only 1 patient experienced weight loss after 1 year (-5.4 kg, BMI SDS -0.33). All patients experienced mild side effects, such as injection pain or nausea, and 2 patients stopped treatment upon their own request after 8 and 11 months, respectively.
CONCLUSIONS: In this small cohort, we found little effect of GLP-1 receptor agonist in the treatment for acquired HO. Future research should focus on the prevention of HO or, if prevention is not possible, on alternative, individualized interventions.