Sperm counts and endocrinological markers of spermatogenesis in long-term survivors of testicular cancer
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionBritish Journal of Cancer. 2012, 107 (11), 1833-1839. 10.1038/bjc.2012.471
Background: The objective of this study was to assess markers of spermatogenesis in long-term survivors of testicular cancer (TC) according to treatment, and to explore correlations between the markers and associations with achieved paternity following TC treatment. Methods: In 1191 TC survivors diagnosed between 1980 and 1994, serum-follicle stimulating hormone (s-FSH; n=1191), s-inhibin B (n=441), and sperm counts (millions per ml; n=342) were analysed in a national follow-up study in 1998–2002. Paternity was assessed by a questionnaire. Results: At median 11 years follow-up, 44% had oligo- (<15 millions per ml; 29%) or azoospermia (15%). Sperm counts and s-inhibin B were significantly lower and s-FSH was higher after chemotherapy, but not after radiotherapy (RT), when compared with surgery only. All measures were significantly more abnormal following high doses of chemotherapy (cisplatin (Cis)>850 mg, absolute cumulative dose) compared with lower doses (Cis ⩽850 mg). Sperm counts were moderately correlated with s-FSH (−0.500), s-inhibin B (0.455), and s-inhibin B : FSH ratio (−0.524; all P<0.001). All markers differed significantly between those who had achieved post-treatment fatherhood and those with unsuccessful attempts. Conclusion: The RT had no long-term effects on the assessed markers of spermatogenesis, whereas chemotherapy had. At present, the routine evaluation of s-inhibin B adds little in the initial fertility evaluation of TC survivors.