(HealthDay News) — Lymphoma treatment has damaging effects on spermatogenesis but, in most patients, sperm production recovers within two years post-treatment, according to a study published online July 17 in Fertility and Sterility.
Louis Bujan, M.D., Ph.D., from Université de Toulouse in France, and colleagues compared sperm characteristics in 75 Hodgkin’s lymphoma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma patients (before treatment and after three, six, 12, and 24 months) and a control group of 257 fertile men.
The researchers found that patients with no identified risk factor already had altered sperm characteristics before lymphoma treatment. After treatment, sperm count, total sperm count, motility, and vitality decreased, with lowest seen values at three and six months. Mean sperm count recovered to pretreatment values after doxorubicin, bleomycin, vinblastine, darcarbacine (ABVD) or ABVD + radiotherapy at 12 months after treatment, but not after doxorubicin, cyclophosphamide, vincristine, prednisone or mechlorethamine, oncovin, procarbazine, prednisone chemotherapies. At 24 months, 7 percent of patients remained azoospermic. Only pretreatment total sperm count was related to recovery in multivariate analyses, including diagnosis and treatment protocol.
“Lymphoma patients had altered sperm DNA and chromatin before treatment. Lymphoma treatment had damaging effects on spermatogenesis,” the authors write. “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.”