To evaluate the effect of long-term treatment with recombinant human GH(rhGH) on renal function in short children with nephropathic cystinosis with and without concomitant cysteamine treatment, 36 growth-retarded children with nephropathic cystinosis (age 7.3 ± 2.7 y; creatinine clearance(CCR) 50 ± 27 mL (min × 1.73 m2)-1 were treated with 1 IU rhGH/kg/wk for up to 5 y. The rise in serum creatinine before and during rhGH treatment was compared with that in a historical control group of cystinotic patients. The effect of concomitant cysteamine treatment on the evolution of renal function before and after the start of rhGH was evaluated separately in patients without (group A) and with cysteamine treatment (group B). The decline of CCR was also compared with that in noncystinotic patients with chronic renal failure with and without rhGH treatment. At study entry, serum creatinine values in group A were similar to those in the historical controls, whereas group B had significantly lower serum creatinine values. Treatment with rhGH did not accelerate the rise in creatinine independently of cysteamine treatment. There were no significant differences in the mean decline of CCr per year in cystinotic compared with noncystinotic patients with chronic renal failure with or without rhGH treatment. rhGH therapy for up to 5 y does not accelerate the deterioration of renal function. This justifies the continuation of controlled studies of rhGH treatment in these patients. The study also provides further evidence that cysteamine therapy reduces the progression of renal failure in children with cystinosis.