To evaluate the possible reproductive potential in patients who receive chemotherapy for leukemia, we reviewed the gonadal histologic findings at autopsy in 183 treated leukemic patients and in 183 age- and sex-matched control subjects. The 103 male leukemic patients had significantly reduced spermatogenic activity and tubular fertility index and increased interstitial fibrosis as compared with control subjects (p <.001). The 80 females had marked reduction of secondary follicles (p <0.001). These lesions showed no predilection for grouping by sexual maturity or by leukemia diagnosis. There was no correlation with the type of chemotherapy or time since last dose of any antileukemic agent. Despite these extensive pathologic changes, there was histologic evidence of residual reproductive potential-a tubular fertility index greater than zero in 65 percent of males and intact primary follicles in 81 percent of premenopausal females. Testicular leukemia was present in 25 percent of males; all of the patients with testicular leukemia had additional foci of leukemia in other organs. The study shows histologic evidence of possible reproductive potential in treated leukemic patients of both sexes and does not support the concept of the testis as a tumor sanctuary in leukemia.
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