Sperm chromosome abnormalities were assessed in testicular cancer patients before and after treatment with BEP (bleomycin, etoposide, cisplatin). The frequencies of disomy for chromosomes 1, 12, X, Y and XY were assessed along with diploid frequencies and sex ratios by multicolour fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). For each cancer patient, a minimum of 10,000 sperm was assessed for each chromosome probe before and after chemotherapy (CT). Data was analysed 'blindly' by coding the slides. A total of 161,097 sperm were analyzed, 80,445 before and 80,642 after treatment. The mean disomy frequencies were 0.11% pre-CT vs 0.06% post-CT for chromosome 1, 0.18% vs 0.15% for chromosome 12, 0.10% vs 0.9% for the X chromosome, 0.13% vs 0.10% for the Y chromosome and 0.25% vs 0.20% for XY sperm. There was no significant difference in the frequency of disomy pre-CT vs post-CT for any chromosome except that chromosome 1 demonstrated a significant decrease after CT. The 'sex ratios' and frequency of diploid sperm were also not significantly different in pre- and post-CT samples with 50.2% X-bearing sperm pre-CT and 50.5% X post-CT and 0.14% diploid sperm pre-CT vs 0.15% diploid sperm post-CT. There was no significant donor heterogeneity among the cancer patients. None of the values in the cancer patients differed significantly from 10 normal control donors. Thus our study suggests that BEP chemotherapy does not increase the risk of numerical chromosomal abnormalities in human sperm.
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