Childhood reproductive hormone levels after pediatric hematopoietic stem cell transplantation in relation to adult testicular function


Objectives: Longitudinal assessment of testicular function after pediatric hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is needed to guide clinical follow-up. We investigated dynamics in male reproductive hormones after pediatric HSCT, focusing on pubertal timing and associations with testosterone deficiency and azoospermia in adulthood.

Methods: This retrospective, longitudinal study included 39 survivors median 19 years after pediatric HSCT. Serum concentrations of LH, testosterone, FSH, and inhibin B from the time of HSCT, during puberty, and into adulthood were analyzed. Pubertal timing (rise in LH and testosterone) was compared to a reference cohort of 112 healthy boys. Associations between reproductive hormone levels during puberty and adult testicular function (including semen quality) were investigated.

Results: Pubertal induction with testosterone was needed in 6/26 patients who were prepubertal at HSCT. In the remaining patients, pubertal timing was comparable to the reference cohort. However, 9/33 patients (without pubertal induction) developed testosterone deficiency in early adulthood, which was associated with higher LH levels from age 14 to 16 years. Azoospermia in adulthood was found in 18/26 patients without testosterone substitution. Higher FSH and lower inhibin B levels from mid-pubertal age were associated with azoospermia in adulthood, in patients being prepubertal at HSCT.

Conclusion: Our results indicate a substantial risk of deterioration in testicular function after pediatric HSCT, despite normal pubertal timing. Although reproductive hormone levels from mid-puberty indicated adult testicular function, prolonged follow-up into adulthood is needed in these patients, including clinical examination, reproductive hormone analysis, and semen sample for patients interested in their fertility potential.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEndocrine Connections
Issue number10
Pages (from-to)1352-1365
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 18 Oct 2021


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