Etiology and age incidence of precocious puberty in girls: A multicentric study

M. Cisternino, T. Arrigo, A. M. Pasquino, C. Tinelli, F. Antoniazzi, L. Beduschi, G. Bindi, P. Borrelli, V. De Sanctis, G. Farello, F. Galluzzi, L. Gargantini, D. Lo Presti, M. Sposito, L. Tato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We review the etiology and age incidence of precocious puberty in 438 girls examined between 1988-1998; 428 (97.7%) had central precocious puberty (CPP), the remaining 10 (2.3%) gonadotropin-independent precocious puberty (GIPP) of ovarian origin. The majority of CPP girls (59.6%) were aged between 7-7.9 yr, 22.4% were 6 year olds, and only 18% were under 6 years old. Cranial CT and/or MRI performed in 304/428 girls, showed neurogenic abnormalities in 56/304 (18.4%) CPP girls; 30 (9.9%) were due to previously diagnosed intracranial abnormalities and the remaining 26 (8.5%) were detected at the diagnosis of CPP. The frequency of neurogenic CPP tended to be higher in girls under 4 years of age while the frequency of idiopathic CPP tended to be higher in girls aged between 7-7.9 years, but no statistically significant differences were found. Interestingly, some CNS anomalies either of tumoral or congenital origin were detected at presentation in 7% of the girls aged over 7 years. Other related or coincidental clinical anomalies, mainly due to genetic diseases, were observed in 22/304 (7.2%) patients. History of precocious maternal menarche was found in 12/304 (4%) girls. In conclusion, idiopathic CPP was observed in 74% of the girls in this study. Neurogenic anomalies or other coincidental or related clinical findings were observed in the remaining 26%. The increased frequency of idiopathic CPP in girls aged over 7 years may suggest an early, but otherwise normal onset of puberty in many of these girls as a consequence of the trend towards earlier maturation. Nonetheless, the finding of CNS anomalies also in the older patients, raises the question of whether these patients should undergo a complete diagnostic work-up.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)695-701
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Pediatric Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • Central precocious puberty
  • Girls
  • Neurogenic abnormalities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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