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Male gonadal function after pediatric hematopoietic stem cell transplantation: a systematic review

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Male gonadal dysfunction is a frequent late effect after pediatric hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) that can lead to disturbances in pubertal development, sexual dysfunction, and infertility. However, no systematic review exists regarding prevalence and risk factors in relation to different treatment regimens. We aimed to systematically evaluate the current evidence regarding the prevalence of male gonadal dysfunction after pediatric HSCT, related risk factors, and the diagnostic value of surrogate markers of spermatogenesis in this patient group. We searched PubMed and Embase using a combination of text words and subject terms. The eligibility screening was conducted using predefined criteria. Data were extracted corresponding to the Leydig cell compartment involved in testosterone production and the germ cell compartment involved in spermatogenesis, respectively. Subsequently, data synthesis was performed. Of 2369 identified records, 25 studies were eligible. The studies were heterogeneous in terms of included diagnoses, gonadotoxic therapy, follow-up time, and definitions of gonadal dysfunction. The data synthesis revealed a preserved Leydig cell function in patients treated with non-total body irradiation (TBI) regimens, whereas the evidence regarding the impact of TBI conditioning on Leydig cell function was conflicting. Based on surrogate markers of spermatogenesis and only limited data on semen quality, the germ cell compartment was affected in half of the patients treated with non-TBI regimens and in nearly all patients treated with TBI conditioning. Testicular irradiation as part of front-line therapy before referral to HSCT led to complete Leydig cell failure and germ cell failure. Evidence regarding the impact of diagnosis, pubertal stage at HSCT, and chronic graft-versus-host disease is limited, as is the evidence of the diagnostic value of surrogate markers of spermatogenesis. Testicular irradiation as part of front-line therapy and TBI conditioning are the main risk factors associated with male gonadal dysfunction after pediatric HSCT; however, impaired spermatogenesis is also observed in half of the patients treated with non-TBI regimens. Methodological shortcomings limit existing evidence, and future studies should include semen quality analyses, follow-up into late adulthood, and evaluation of the cumulative exposure to gonadotoxic therapy.

Original languageEnglish
JournalTransplantation and cellular therapy
Issue number8
Pages (from-to)503.e1-503.e15
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2022. Published by Elsevier Inc.

    Research areas

  • Adult, Child, Gonadal Disorders/epidemiology, Graft vs Host Disease/epidemiology, Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation/adverse effects, Humans, Male, Semen Analysis, Transplantation Conditioning/adverse effects, Whole-Body Irradiation/adverse effects, Pediatrics, Late effects, Gonadal function, Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation

ID: 78385053