Retesting of patients with growth hormone (GH) deficiency (GHD), especially those with idiopathic GHD, has yielded normalization of the results in several studies. The aim of this study was to reevaluate patients diagnosed as GHD at completion or reconfirm the diagnosis before completion of GH treatment by retesting with provocative tests, and to evaluate the value of IGF-I and IGFBP-3 levels in the diagnosis of GHD. Fifty (33 M, 17 F) patients with GHD (peak GH level <0.46 pmol/l (10 ng/ml]) in two pharmacological tests were retested and IGF-I and IGFBP-3 levels measured. The age of the patients at retest was 15.2 +/- 5.0 yr. Thirteen of 50 patients (26%) normalized their GH secretion. According to the initial diagnosis, 69% of those with partial GHD (peak GH level 0.32-0.46 pmol/l [7-10 ng/ml]), 43% with isolated GHD, 33% idiopathic and 11% of those with complete GHD (peak GH level <0.32 pmol/l [7 ng/ml]) normalized their GH level at retesting. None of the patients with multiple hormone deficiency and none with small pituitary on MRI normalized GH levels at retest. The sensitivities of IGF-I and of IGFBP-3 were 70% and 67%, respectively, and the specificities were 100%, when peak GH cutoff is taken as 0.46 pmol/l (10 ng/ml) for the diagnosis of GHD. The sensitivities of IGF-I and IGFBP-3 increased to 76.5% and 73.5% when the cutoff level for GHD is taken as 0.32 pmol/l (7 ng/ml). Those patients who normalized their GH levels at retest showed a satisfactory height velocity when GH therapy was discontinued. In conclusion, reevaluation of GH status may also be undertaken while patients are still on treatment as well as at completion of treatment, especially in patients with idiopathic, partial and isolated GHD, by retesting and by IGF-I and IGFBP-3 measurements. Lowering the cutoff level of GH peak at pharmacological tests to 0.32 pmol/l (7 ng/ml) will lower the number of false positive results in the diagnosis of GHD.