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Male gonadal function after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation in childhood: a cross-sectional, population-based study

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Male gonadal dysfunction is a frequent late effect after pediatric hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT), but detailed insight into patterns of male gonadal function at long-term is limited by retrospective studies without semen sample data. In this study, we investigated the risk of azoospermia and testosterone deficiency, the diagnostic value of markers of spermatogenesis, and paternity at long-term follow-up after pediatric allogeneic HSCT. All male HSCT survivors age ≥18 years, transplanted in Denmark or Finland between 1980 and 2010, were invited to participate in this cross-sectional study. Examinations included a semen sample, measurements of reproductive hormones and testicular volume, and screening for chronic graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). Cumulative (pre-HSCT plus HSCT) treatment doses were calculated. Of 181 eligible patients, 98 participated, at a median 18 years (range, 8 to 35 years) after undergoing HSCT. Sperm was found in 30 patients, azoospermia in 42, and azoospermia during testosterone substitution in 24. A higher cumulative testicular irradiation dose was associated with increased risk of azoospermia and testosterone substitution (odds ratio [OR] per +1 Gy, 1.27; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.14 to 1.46 [P < .001] and 1.21; 95% CI, 1.11 to 1.38 [P < .001], respectively). All patients treated with >12 Gy had azoospermia, and all but 1 patient treated with >16 Gy needed testosterone substitution. In patients treated with chemotherapy only (n = 23), a higher cumulative cyclophosphamide equivalent dose was associated with an increased risk of azoospermia (OR per +1 g/m 2, 1.34; 95% CI, 1.01 to 2.15; P = .037). Prepubertal stage at HSCT was a risk factor for testosterone substitution (OR, 15.31; 95% CI, 2.39 to 315; P = .017), whereas chronic GVHD was unrelated to gonadal dysfunction. Inhibin B was the best surrogate marker of azoospermia (area under the curve, .91; 95% CI, .85 to .98; 90% sensitivity and 83% specificity) compared with follicle-stimulating hormone and testicular volume. Of 24 males who had attempted to conceive, 6 had fathered children. In conclusion, the risk of male gonadal dysfunction after pediatric HSCT is high and depends primarily on the cumulative testicular irradiation dose and pubertal stage at transplantation. Our findings support the need for fertility preservation before HSCT, as well as for prolonged follow-up of pediatric HSCT recipients into adulthood.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBiology of blood and marrow transplantation : journal of the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation
Issue number9
Pages (from-to)1635-1645
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2020

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2020 American Society for Transplantation and Cellular Therapy. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

    Research areas

  • Fertility, Gonadal function, Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, Late effects, Pediatrics

ID: 59909299