The effects of postoperative adjuvant chemotherapy and radiotherapy on testicular function in men undergoing treatment for soft tissue sarcoma

R. C. Shamberger, R. J. Sherins, S. A. Rosenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Testicular function was studied in 26 men with sarcoma who received adjuvant treatment with doxorubicin, cyclophosphamide, and high-dose methotrexate (with or without radiotherapy). Testicular size, sperm output, and serum FSH, LH and testosterone levels were assessed after treatment. Five of 17 men who received chemotherapy or chemotherapy with radiotherapy to the neck, arm, chest or leg, had normal testicular function. Eight of the remaining 12 men who provided ejaculates were oligospermic or azoospermic and serum FSH was increased threefold and LH twofold; testosterone levels were normal. In the five men with normal testicular function, FSH was increased fourfold during therapy but returned to normal six to 21 months after treatment. In men less than 40 years old, the mean FSH level was less than that of men over 40 years of age (P = 0.05), suggesting that recovery from the injury was age-related. By contrast, all nine men who received chemotherapy plus radiotherapy to the abdomen or thigh had decreased testicular size, azoospermia, fourfold increase in FSH, and twofold increase in LH levels; but testosterone concentration was normal. These data indicate that reversible testicular injury occurs after treatment with doxorubicin, cyclophosphamide, and high-dose methotrexate; recovery is age-related. However, these agents in combination with use of adjuvant radiotherapy to the thigh or abdomen may produce permanent testicular injury even in young patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2368-2374
Number of pages7
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1981
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology

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