The relationship of gonadal activity and chemotherapy-induced gonadal damage

JAMA. 1988 Apr 8;259(14):2123-5.


We tested the hypothesis that chemotherapy-induced gonadal damage is proportional to the degree of gonadal activity during treatment. Thirty studies that evaluated gonadal function after cyclophosphamide therapy for renal disease or combination chemotherapy for Hodgkin's disease or acute lymphocytic leukemia provided data for analysis. Data were stratified according to sex, illness, chemotherapeutic regimen and dose, and pubertal stage at the time of treatment. Chemotherapy-induced damage was more likely to occur in patients who were treated when sexually mature compared with those who were treated when prepubertal. Males were significantly more frequently affected than females when treated for renal disease or Hodgkin's disease. Chemotherapy-induced damage was also more likely to occur when patients were treated with large doses of alkylating agents. These data suggest that chemotherapy-induced damage is proportional to gonadal activity. Further efforts are needed to test whether induced gonadal quiescence during chemotherapy will reduce the strikingly high incidence of gonadal failure following chemotherapy.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / adverse effects*
  • Child
  • Contraceptives, Oral / therapeutic use
  • Cyclophosphamide / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Gonads / drug effects*
  • Gonads / metabolism
  • Gonads / physiology
  • Hodgkin Disease / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Hypogonadism / chemically induced
  • Kidney Diseases / drug therapy
  • Leukemia, Lymphoid / drug therapy
  • Male
  • Puberty
  • Sex Factors


  • Contraceptives, Oral
  • Cyclophosphamide