Leydig-cell function in children after direct testicular irradiation for acute lymphoblastic leukemia

N Engl J Med. 1983 Jul 7;309(1):25-8. doi: 10.1056/NEJM198307073090106.

Abstract

To assess the effect of testicular irradiation on testicular endocrine function, we studied 12 boys with acute lymphoblastic leukemia who had been treated with direct testicular irradiation 10 months to 8 1/2 years earlier. Insufficient Leydig-cell function, manifested by a low response of plasma testosterone to chorionic gonadotropin or an increased basal level of plasma luteinizing hormone (or both), was observed in 10 patients, 7 of whom were pubertal. Two of these patients had a compensated testicular endocrine insufficiency with only high plasma concentrations of luteinizing hormone. Testosterone secretion was severely impaired in three pubertal boys studied more than four years after testicular irradiation. A diminished testicular volume indicating tubular atrophy was found in all pubertal patients, including three who had not received cyclophosphamide or cytarabine. These data indicate that testosterone insufficiency is a frequent complication of testicular irradiation, although some patients continue to have Leydig-cell activity for several years after therapy.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chorionic Gonadotropin
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone / blood
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Lymphoid / drug therapy
  • Leukemia, Lymphoid / radiotherapy*
  • Leydig Cells / physiology*
  • Luteinizing Hormone / blood
  • Male
  • Puberty
  • Testis / radiation effects*
  • Testosterone / blood
  • Testosterone / metabolism*
  • Time Factors

Substances

  • Chorionic Gonadotropin
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone
  • Testosterone
  • Luteinizing Hormone
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone