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Keywords:

  • childhood cancer;
  • male reproductive function;
  • long-term survivors

Abstract

We evaluated reproductive function in 27 male long-term survivors of childhood cancer treated during the prepubertal and pubertal period. Sperm samples were obtained from 23 patients; four who refused to provide specimens indicated that they had fathered normal healthy children. Thirteen patients were 12 years old or younger at the time of diagnosis and initiation of therapy. Chemotherapy was calculated according to the cumulative amount of drug administered and correlated with the surface area. Sterility was associated with large doses of single alkylating agents or reduced doses administered with other agents in combination regimens. It was noted in boys treated in both the prepubertal and pubertal period. Sterility was also observed in patients who received testicular radiation alone or in combination with chemotherapy. However, it was not an inevitable consequence in all patients, despite treatment with similar or identical regimens. Fertility potential could not be predicted by clinical examination (testicular size) or gonadotrophin and testosterone values. The results were compared to published reports of treatmentinduced sterility in adult males. Additional investigations are required to establish more accurate correlations of dosage with reproductive potential.