✓ Although precocious puberty is common in boys with human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG)-secreting brain tumors, it is extremely rare in girls. The authors describe a 6-year-old girl with an hCG-secreting suprasellar immature teratoma who presented with diabetes insipidus, increased intracranial pressure, and precocious puberty. On admission, breast budding was observed. The serum hCG level was 1230 mIU/ml. Both luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) remained below detectable levels, even after gonadotropin-releasing hormone stimulation. Serum estrogen and androgen were moderately elevated. After chemotherapy, breast budding disappeared with normalization of serum hCG.
It has been believed that hCG does not produce precocious puberty in girls in the absence of FSH, and this has been used as an explanation for the rarity of precocious puberty in girls with hCG-secreting brain tumors. However, it has also been reported that hCG has not only LH activity but also intrinsic, although weak, FSH-like activity. In the present case, this FSH-like activity was considered to have played a role in the development of precocious puberty. It is speculated that a very high level of serum hCG can produce precocious puberty in girls. The rarity of intracranial germ-cell tumors with a high potential of hCG secretion may be one of the reasons why hCG-induced precocious puberty is uncommon in girls.