Fertility in men after treatment for stage 1 and 2A seminoma

Jeffrey G. Nalesnik, Edmund S. Sabanegh, Tony Y. Eng, Thomas A. Buchholz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


The purpose of this article is to assess the long-term fertility and attitudes towards fecundity in men after radical inguinal orchiectomy and radiation therapy (RT) for seminoma, and also to assess how often sperm cryopreservation is being offered to patients with seminoma prior to treatment. A retrospective review was conducted at 3 institutions (Wilford Hall Air Force Medical Center, Brooke Army Medical Center, and Fitzsimmons Army Medical Center) to identify patients who had undergone treatment of stage 1 or 2A seminoma during the period from 1975 to 1997. Seventy-three of 212 (34%) patients meeting the selection criteria of stage 1 or 2A seminoma provided information for this analysis. This was thought to be a good response rate, given that many of the patients had changed duty stations or had separated from the military by the time this study started. We performed a review of RT and tumor board records of 73 patients who were treated for testicular seminoma at selected treatment facilities from 1975 to 1997. Patients completed questionnaires and phone interviews that focused on prior fertility, the desire to father (more) children, other fertility-affecting factors (varicocele, cryptorchidism, infection, and erectile dysfunction), and incidence of physician counseling with regard to cryopreservation. All patients were asked to obtain a current semen analysis (SA). Eleven (15%) patients reported that they had tried to father children since completion of their RT. Seven of 11 (64%) successfully achieved pregnancy within a mean time of 3.5 years since RT (range: 1 month to 5 years). Of the 4 couples that were not successful, 1 had severe female factor infertility problems and a second had organic erectile dysfunction. A third had a past surgical history remarkable for vasectomy with subsequent vasectomy reversal. Nine patients provided SA. Mean sperm count and motility were 24.2 Mil/mL (range: 5-81 Mil/mL) and 63.1% (range: 30-90%), respectively (normal SA values: count = 20-250 Mil/mL, motility >50%, and volume = 1.5-5.0 mL). No patients were azoospermic. Overall mean time interval from radiation therapy was 7.9 years. Radiation dose and time since RT did not correlate with either SA results or conception. Only 16 of 73 (22%) men had been offered pretreatment sperm cryopreservation by their counseling physician. It is concluded that (1) patients who are treated for early stage seminoma by orchiectomy and RT have greater than a 50% chance of regaining normal semen parameters, and all regain at least some spermatogenesis; 2) recovery of spermatogenesis is not related to therapeutic radiation dose with the use of modern shielding and RT portals; (3) the majority of treated patients who desire children can conceive; and (4) sperm cryopreservation remains an underutilized option for seminoma patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)584-588
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Oncology: Cancer Clinical Trials
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Fertility
  • Radiotherapy
  • Seminoma
  • Spermatogenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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