The Effects on Sperm Production from Lymphoma Treatment

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A new study regarding spermatogenesis—the development of sperm cells within the male reproductive organs—reveals some startling things about the effects of lymphoma and its treatment on male fertility.

In this multicenter prospective longitudinal study, patients were analyzed before treatment and after at 3, 6, 12, and 24 months. A total of 75 patients with Hodgkin's or non-Hodgkin's lymphoma were recruited, along with a control group of 257 fertile men.

The study was conducted by Louis Bujan MD PhD from Universite de Toulouse in France and colleagues. They reported their results online in the journal Fertility and Sterility.

To begin, compared to the control group, altered sperm DNA and chromatin was more common among the lymphoma patients before treatment even began (chromatin is the DNA and proteins at the nucleus of a cell). Unfortunately, they didn't speculate on why this might be happening, or if it had anything to do with the cancer.

From there, the results were broken down by treatment:

  • ABVD chemotherapy or ABVD plus radiotherapy: Sperm count recovered to pre-treatment levels for most patients at around twelve months, and they estimate that 90 percent of these patients will return to normal sperm count.
  • CHOP chemotherapy and MOPP chemotherapy: Treatment was significantly harder on these patients, and the team could say only that about 61 percent of them would be expected to recover to pre-treatment sperm count.

After 24 months, sperm production recovers in male patients—but not in all of them. Seven percent of in the study were azoospermic after 24 months—meaning that no measurable sperm could be detected in their semen.

"These data on both the recovery period according to treatment modalities and the pre- and post-treatment chromatin status of sperm are useful tools for counseling patients wishing to conceive," they concluded.

Source: Fertility and Sterility

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