Endocrine outcome and seminal parameters in young adult men born with hypospadias: A cross-sectional cohort study

Lloyd J W Tack, Anne-Françoise Spinoit, Piet Hoebeke, Stefan Riedl, Alexander Springer, Ursula Tonnhofer, Manuela Hiess, Julia Weninger, Ahmed Mahmoud, Kelly Tilleman, Erik Van Laecke, Anders Juul, Jakob Albrethsen, Elfride De Baere, Julie Van De Velde, Hannah Verdin, Martine Cools*

*Corresponding author for this work


BACKGROUND: Hypospadias affects around 1/200 newborn males. Intrauterine testicular dysfunction may underlie a subset of cases. The long-term endocrine and reproductive outcomes in these men remain largely unknown.

METHODS: Cross-sectional study in Ghent and Vienna University Hospitals to assess the endocrine and seminal parameters of young adult men (16-21 years) born with non-syndromic hypospadias (NSH) (n = 193) compared to healthy typical males (n = 50). Assessments included physical exam, semen analysis, hormone assays and exome-based gene panel analysis (474 genes).

FINDINGS: All participants had experienced a spontaneous puberty, in spite of higher LH and INSL3 levels than typical males. Oligo- or azoospermia was observed in 32/172 (18·6%; 99%-CI: 12·2-27·4%) of NSH men; but in 5/16 (31·3%; 99%-CI: 11·1;62·4%) of complex NSH men and in 13/22 (59·1%; 99%-CI: 33·2-80·7%) of those born small for gestational age (SGA). No (likely) pathogenic coding variants were found in the investigated genes. Suboptimal statural growth affected 8/23 (34·8%; 99%-CI: 15·4-61·0%) of men born SGA with NSH.

INTERPRETATION: Spermatogenesis is significantly compromised in NSH men, especially in those born SGA or those with complex NSH. Long-term andrological follow-up is recommended, including end-pubertal semen analysis. No clear monogenic causes could be demonstrated in our cohort even in proximal or complex NSH. Being born SGA with NSH is frequently associated with poor catch-up growth, requiring growth hormone therapy in some.

FUNDING: Research grants from the European Society of Paediatric Endocrinology, the Belgian Society of Pediatrics, the Belgian Society of Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetology and the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO).

Original languageEnglish
Article number104119
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022


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