Both infertility and erectile dysfunction (ED) are known long-term consequences of cancer treatment in young male cancer survivors. In the present study, we aimed to assess whether sperm quality and sexual function in male cancer survivors are associated.
In this prospective study, n = 244 patients male cancer survivors who underwent sperm analysis and cryopreservation between 2008 and 2018 prior to the initiation of gonadotoxic treatment were invited. In total n = 50 had a follow-up sperm analysis and completed two questionnaires, the Aging Males' Symptom Scale (AMS) and the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF-EF). Differences between the individual parameters were analyzed using the Wilcoxon or Mann Whitney test.
Azoospermia was present in n = 16/50 (32.0%) patients at time of follow-up. ED occurred in n = 9/43 (20.9%) patients and was observed more frequently in patients with oligo- or azoospermia than in those with normospermia, even though this association was not statistically significant. Sperm parameters (total sperm count, sperm concentration, progressive motility) did not differ between time of cryopreservation and time of follow-up. Mean total, somatic, psychological, and sexual AMS score was 23.6, 9.9, 6.6, and 6.8, respectively. Mean total IIEF-EF score was 27.3, indicating mainly mild ED.
More than one-third of cancer patients suffered from azoospermia, and ED was primarily present in this subgroup. We recommend implementing the screening of sexual dysfunction in the annual sperm testing that should be offered to all men after gonadotoxic treatment. Our study highlights the importance of counseling young cancer patients on both aspects-future infertility and sexual function-prior to treatment and at follow-up visits.
Supportive care in cancer : official journal of the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer. 2022 Mar 09 [Epub ahead of print]
Elisabeth Reiser, Anna Lena Zippl, Kilian Vomstein, Elena Strassgschwandter, Susanne Hofer-Tollinger, Germar Michael Pinggera, Bettina Toth
Department of Gynecological Endocrinology and Reproductive Medicine, Medical University Innsbruck, Anichstrasse 35, 6020, Innsbruck, Austria., Department of Gynecological Endocrinology and Reproductive Medicine, Medical University Innsbruck, Anichstrasse 35, 6020, Innsbruck, Austria. ., Department of Urology, Medical University Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria.