Sperm DNA integrity in testicular cancer patients.

Olof Ståhl, Jakob Eberhard, K Jepson, M Spano, Magdalena Cwikiel, Eva Cavallin-Ståhl, Aleksander Giwercman

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63 Citations (SciVal)


BACKGROUND: We evaluated the impact of testicular germ cell cancer (TGCC), its treatment and length of follow-up on sperm DNA integrity. METHODS: In 96 TGCC patients, semen was collected at specific intervals until 5 years after treatment. Sperm DNA integrity was assessed by the sperm chromatin structure assay (SCSA, n = 193) and by the terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick-end labelling (TUNEL, n = 159) assay. Results were expressed as DNA fragmentation index (DFI). Controls comprised of 278 military conscripts. RESULTS: Post-surgery testicular cancer (TC) patients did not differ from controls. Compared with pretreatment values, radiotherapy induced a transient increase in SCSA(DFI) (medians: 12 versus 19%; P = 0.03), normalizing after 3-5 years. One year or more after therapy, 5/13 (38%) of normozoospermic, irradiated patients had SCSA(DFI) > 27% compared with 7% of normozoospermic controls (P = 0.002). More than two cycles of chemotherapy decreased DFI 3-5 years post-therapy (median SCSA(DFI): 12 versus 9.1%, P = 0.02; median TUNELDFI: 11 versus 7.5%, P = 0.03). CONCLUSION: Irradiation increases sperm DNA damage 1-2 years after treatment, and 38% of irradiated patients with normozoospermia had high (> 27%) DNA damage, which may affect the sperm-fertilizing ability. TC per se is not associated with an increase of DFI, and DFI is reduced by three or more cycles of chemotherapy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3199-3205
JournalHuman Reproduction
Publication statusPublished - 2006

Bibliographical note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015.
The record was previously connected to the following departments: Oncology, MV (013035000), Pediatrics/Urology/Gynecology/Endocrinology (013240400), Division V (013230900), Molecular Reproductive Medicine (013241710)

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Clinical Medicine
  • Cancer and Oncology


  • SCSA
  • sperm DNA
  • testicular cancer
  • radiotherapy
  • chemotherapy


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