A prospective serial study of the effects of radiotherapy on semen parameters, and hamster egg penetration rates

R. H. Martin, A. Rademaker, M. Barnes, K. Arthur, T. Ringrose, G. Douglas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Cancer patients were studied before radiotherapy (RT) and at regular intervals after treatment (1, 3, 12, 24, 36, 48 months) to determine the effect of radiotherapy on semen parameters and sperm function as assessed by the hamster egg penetration assay. The cancer patients received testicular radiation doses of 0.4 to 5.0 grays (40 to 500 rads). The pre-radiotherapy semen profile varied considerably but in general the profile was poor: 7/11 men had a sperm concentration less than 20 x 106/ml and a total count of less than 50 x 106, while the hamster egg penetration rates were also very low with a mean of 5% (range 0% to 15%). This is the first study demonstrating that sperm function as well as sperm concentration is impaired in cancer patients pre-radiotherapy. At 3 and 12 months post-radiotherapy, 8/11 men were azoospermic. By 24 months 8/11 were producing sperm although only 2 had hamster egg penetration rates greater than 15%. All men studied at 36 months (4) and 48 months (3) post-radiotherapy had recovered spermatogenesis but hamster egg penetration rates were still poor. There was a highly significant inverse correlation between testicular radiation dose and subsequent sperm concentration and hamster egg penetration rates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)239-243
Number of pages5
JournalClinical and Investigative Medicine
Volume8
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 28 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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