Male Reproductive Health After Childhood, Adolescent, and Young Adult Cancers: A Report From the Children's Oncology Group

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, 450 Brookline Ave, D321, Boston, MA 02215
Journal of Clinical Oncology (Impact Factor: 18.43). 05/2012; 30(27):3408-16. DOI: 10.1200/JCO.2011.38.6938
Source: PubMed


The majority of children, adolescents, and young adults diagnosed with cancer will become long-term survivors. Although cancer therapy is associated with many adverse effects, one of the primary concerns of young male cancer survivors is reproductive health. Future fertility is often the focus of concern; however, it must be recognized that all aspects of male health, including pubertal development, testosterone production, and sexual function, can be impaired by cancer therapy. Although pretreatment strategies to preserve reproductive health have been beneficial to some male patients, many survivors remain at risk for long-term reproductive complications. Understanding risk factors and monitoring the reproductive health of young male survivors are important aspects of follow-up care. The Children's Oncology Group Long-Term Follow-Up Guidelines for Survivors of Childhood, Adolescent, and Young Adult Cancer (COG-LTFU Guidelines) were created by the COG to provide recommendations for follow-up care of survivors at risk for long-term complications. The male health task force of the COG-LTFU Guidelines, composed of pediatric oncologists, endocrinologists, nurse practitioners, a urologist, and a radiation oncologist, is responsible for updating the COG-LTFU Guidelines every 2 years based on literature review and expert consensus. This review summarizes current task force recommendations for the assessment and management of male reproductive complications after treatment for childhood, adolescent, and young adult cancers. Issues related to male health that are being investigated, but currently not included in the COG-LTFU Guidelines, are also discussed. Ongoing investigation will inform future COG-LTFU Guideline recommendations for follow-up care to improve health and quality of life for male survivors.

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    • "Assessment of male reproductive function starts from the assessment of pubertal development. For survivors exposed to alkylating agents (higher cumulative doses or combinations of alkylators) or radiation (≥ 20 Gy to the testes and pelvis; ≥ 30 Gy to the cranium) before the onset of puberty, the Children's Oncology Group Long-Term Follow-Up Guidelines for Survivors of Childhood, Adolescent, and Young Adult Cancer (COG-LTFU Guidelines) recommend annual assessment of pubertal development until sexual maturity using Tanner staging, with testicular volume determined using a Prader orchidometer17). If patients request fertility testing, spermatogenesis status is evaluated either directly by semen analysis or indirectly by determination of the levels of gonadotropins and testicular volume changes. "
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    ABSTRACT: With advances in cancer treatment, more pediatric cancer patients have increased their life expectancy. Because cancer-related therapy causes various physical and psychological problems, many male survivors experience later problems with thyroid and sexual functions, and with growth. As outcomes have improved, more survivors need to maintain their reproductive function to maximize their long-term quality of life. Cancer and cancer-related treatment can impair fertility by damage to the testes, to the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis, or to the genitourinary organs. Prior radiation therapy to the testes, the use of alkylating agents, and central hypogonadism further impair fertility in male survivors of childhood cancer. Following any course of chemotherapy, peripubertal maturation, any testicular volume changes, and symptoms of androgen deficiency should be monitored systematically. If patients request fertility testing, spermatogenesis status can be evaluated either directly by semen analysis or indirectly by determination of the levels of testosterone/gonadotropins and by monitoring any changes in testicular volume. According to the patient's condition, semen cryopreservation, hormonal therapy, or assisted reproduction technologies should be provided.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2013
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    • "This AYA survivorship cohort is growing (16) but survival does not come without a cost. AYA cancer survivors have been found to have poorer physical and psychosocial outcomes than their healthy peers, thus warranting close monitoring. "
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    ABSTRACT: Reproductive health among cancer survivors is an important quality of life issue. Certain cancer therapies have known fertility risks. There is an existing cohort of adolescents and young adults (AYA) cancer survivors that, seen less frequently in clinical care settings than active patients, are likely not having discussions of fertility and other reproductive health issues. A survivor or healthcare provider can easily assume that the window of opportunity for fertility preservation has passed, however emerging research has shown this may not be the case. Recent data demonstrates a close relationship between fertility and other late effects to conclude that ongoing assessment during survivorship is warranted. Some fertility preservation procedures have also been shown to mitigate common late effects. This review explores the link between late effects from treatment and common comorbidities from infertility, which may exacerbate these late effects. This review also highlights the relevance of fertility discussions in the AYA survivorship population.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2013 · Frontiers in Oncology
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    ABSTRACT: In 2008, approximately 69,200 adolescents and young adults (AYAs) were diagnosed with cancer, second only to heart disease for males in this age group. Despite recent guidelines from professional organizations and clinical research that AYA oncology patients want information about reproductive health topics and physician support for nurses to address these issues with patients, existing research finds few oncology nurses discuss this topic with patients due to barriers such as lack of training. This article describes an innovative eLearning training program, entitled Educating Nurses about Reproductive Issues in Cancer Healthcare. The threefold purpose of this article is to: (1) highlight major reproductive health concerns relevant to cancer patients, (2) describe the current status of reproductive health and oncology communication and the target audience for the training, and (3) present a systematic approach to curriculum development, including the content analysis and design stages as well as the utilization of feedback from a panel of experts. The resulting 10-week curriculum contains a broad-based approach to reproductive health communication aimed at creating individual- and practice-level change.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2012 · Journal of Cancer Education
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