Condition 101 About Gigantism

What is the definition of Gigantism?

Gigantism is abnormal growth due to an excess of growth hormone (GH) during childhood.

What are the alternative names for Gigantism?

Pituitary giant; Overproduction of growth hormone; Growth hormone - excess production

What are the causes for Gigantism?

Gigantism is very rare. The most common cause of too much GH release is a noncancerous (benign) tumor of the pituitary gland. Other causes include:

  • Genetic disease that affects the skin color (pigmentation) and causes benign tumors of the skin, heart, and endocrine (hormone) system (Carney complex)
  • Genetic disease that affects the bones and skin pigmentation (McCune-Albright syndrome)
  • Genetic disease in which one or more of the endocrine glands are overactive or form a tumor (multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 or type 4)
  • Genetic disease that forms pituitary tumors
  • Disease in which tumors form on the nerves of the brain and spine (neurofibromatosis)

If excess GH occurs after normal bone growth has stopped (end of puberty), the condition is known as acromegaly.

What are the symptoms for Gigantism?

The child will grow in height, as well as in the muscles and organs. This excessive growth makes the child extremely large for his or her age.

Other symptoms include:

  • Delayed puberty
  • Double vision or difficulty with side (peripheral) vision
  • Very prominent forehead (frontal bossing) and a prominent jaw
  • Gaps between the teeth
  • Headache
  • Increased sweating
  • Irregular periods (menstruation)
  • Joint pain
  • Large hands and feet with thick fingers and toes
  • Release of breast milk
  • Sleep problems
  • Thickening of the facial features
  • Weakness
  • Voice changes

What are the current treatments for Gigantism?

For pituitary tumors, surgery can cure many cases.

When surgery cannot completely remove the tumor, medicines are used to block or reduce GH release or prevent GH from reaching target tissues.

Sometimes radiation treatment is used to decrease the size of the tumor after surgery.

What is the outlook (prognosis) for Gigantism?

Pituitary surgery is usually successful in limiting GH production.

Early treatment can reverse many of the changes caused by GH excess.

What are the possible complications for Gigantism?

Surgery and radiation treatment may lead to low levels of other pituitary hormones. This can cause any of the following conditions:

  • Adrenal insufficiency (adrenal glands do not produce enough of their hormones)
  • Diabetes insipidus (extreme thirst and excessive urination; in rare cases)
  • Hypogonadism (body's sex glands produce little or no hormones)
  • Hypothyroidism (thyroid gland does not make enough thyroid hormone)

When should I contact a medical professional for Gigantism?

Call your provider if your child has signs of excessive growth.

How do I prevent Gigantism?

Gigantism cannot be prevented. Early treatment may prevent the disease from getting worse and help avoid complications.



Katznelson L, Laws ER Jr, Melmed S, et al; Endocrine Society. Acromegaly: an endocrine society clinical practice guideline. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2014;99(11):3933-3951. PMID: 25356808

Melmed S. Acromegaly. In: Jameson JL, De Groot LJ, de Kretser DM, et al, eds. Endocrinology: Adult and Pediatric. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 12.

Top Global Doctors For Gigantism

Albert M. Beckers
Liege, WAL, BE
Adrian F. Daly
Liege, WAL, BE
Alessandro Mussa
Turin, IT
Frederic Brioude
Paris, FR
Thomas Eggermann
Aachen, NW, DE

Latest Advances On Gigantism

  • Condition: Pediatric Growth Hormone-Secreting Pituitary Adenoma
  • Journal: Journal of clinical neuroscience : official journal of the Neurosurgical Society of Australasia
  • Treatment Used: Endoscopic Endonasal Gross Total Resection
  • Number of Patients: 1
  • Published —
This case report describes a patient with a pediatric growth hormone-secreting pituitary adenoma that resulted in excessive growth spurts, behavioral changes, and frontal headaches.
  • Condition: Congenital Generalized Lipodystrophy (CGL) with Progressive Myoclonic Epilepsy
  • Journal: Medicine
  • Treatment Used: Sodium Valproate, Baclofen, Aripiprazole, Benzhexol, Lamotrigine, and Nutrition Therapy
  • Number of Patients: 1
  • Published —
This case report discusses a child with congenital generalized lipodystrophy (CGL), a rare autosomal recessive hereditary disease, associated with metabolic complications and epilepsy, which is also rare.

Clinical Trials For Gigantism

Clinical Trial
  • Status: Recruiting
  • Phase: Phase 3
  • Intervention Type: Drug
  • Participants: 140
  • Start Date: October 21, 2019
An Open-Label Phase 3 Study of the Safety and Efficacy of Pegvisomant in Children With Growth Hormone Excess
Clinical Trial
  • Status: Recruiting
  • Intervention Type: Procedure
  • Participants: 20
  • Start Date: August 6, 2019
Multi-center Observational Study on the Use of a Human Bone Graft in Epiphysiodesis