Effects of radiation on testicular function in long-term survivors of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia: A report from the Childrens Cancer Study Group
Follicle Stimulating Hormone
Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma
Testicular function was evaluated in 60 long-term survivors of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). All the patients were treated on two consecutive Children Cancer Study Group protocols and received identical chemotherapy and either 18 or 24 Gy radiation therapy (RT) to one of the following fields: craniospinal plus 12 Gy abdominal RT including the gonads (group 1); craniospinal (group 2); or cranial (group 3). The median age at the time of their last evaluation was 14.5 years (range, 10.5 to 25.7), which took place a median of 5.0 years (range, 1 to 10.3) after discontinuing therapy. The incidence of primary germ cell dysfunction as judged by raised levels of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and/or reduced testicular volume was significantly associated with field of RT; 55% of group 1, 17% of group 2, and 0% of group 3 were abnormal (P = .002). Leydig cell function, as assessed by plasma concentrations of luteinizing hormone (LH) and testosterone, and pubertal development, was unaffected in the majority of subjects regardless of RT field. These data indicate that in boys undergoing therapy for ALL, germ cell dysfunction is common following testicular irradiation and can occur following exposure to scattered irradiation from craniospinal RT. In contrast, Leydig cell function appears resistant to direct irradiation with doses as high as 12 Gy.