Male fertility in long-term survivors of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia

Int J Androl. 1991 Oct;14(5):312-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2605.1991.tb01098.x.


To study long-term testicular function following the treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) in childhood, 37 young adult males were assessed at two separate time points. The initial assessment was made by a wedge testicular biopsy after completion of treatment (median 9.7 years; range 4.1-16.3 years) and the subsequent assessment (median 18.6 years; range 15.4-26.8 years) consisted of the clinical examination of pubertal stage, measurement of serum gonadotrophins and testosterone and, in 19 patients, semen analysis. All 37 men completed pubertal development normally and had a testosterone concentration within the normal adult range. Six men showed evidence of severe damage to the seminiferous epithelium, five were azoospermic and one, who did not provide semen for analysis, had a reduced mean testicular volume (11 mls; normal greater than or equal to 15 mls) and a raised basal FSH level (13 UI 1-1; normal less than or equal to 6 IU 1-1). All six men with germ-cell damage had received either cyclophosphamide or both cyclophosphamide and cytosine arabinoside as part of their chemotherapy regimen. Approximately 10.7 years earlier all 37 men had undergone a testicular biopsy after completion of their chemotherapy. Morphological damage to the seminiferous epithelium had been calculated by estimating the tubular fertility index (TFI), which is the percentage of seminiferous tubules containing identifiable spermatogonia (age-matched normal = 100%).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / adverse effects*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone / blood
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infertility, Male / etiology*
  • Infertility, Male / pathology
  • Luteinizing Hormone / blood
  • Male
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / drug therapy*
  • Testis / pathology
  • Testis / physiopathology
  • Testosterone / blood
  • Time Factors


  • Testosterone
  • Luteinizing Hormone
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone