Impact of chemotherapy and radiotherapy for testicular germ cell tumors on spermatogenesis and sperm DNA: a multicenter prospective study from the CECOS network

Adjuvant treatments for testicular germ cell tumors have drastic effects on spermatogenesis and sperm chromatin quality; pretreatment values were recovered >12 months after >2 BEP cycles or after radiotherapy.


Louis Bujan, M.D., Ph.D., Marie Walschaerts, Ph.D., Nathalie Moinard, D.Pharm., Sylvianne Hennebicq, M.D., Ph.D., Jacqueline Saias, M.D., Florence Brugnon, M.D., Ph.D., Jacques Auger, M.D., Ph.D., Isabelle Berthaut, Ph.D., Ethel Szerman, Ph.D., Myriam Daudin, M.D., Nathalie Rives, M.D., Ph.D.

Volume 100, Issue 3, Pages 673-680.e2, September 2013



To determine the consequences of adjuvant testicular germ cell tumor treatment (TGCT) on sperm characteristics and sperm DNA, and to evaluate the predictors of sperm recovery.


Multicenter prospective longitudinal study of patients analyzed before treatment and after 3, 6, 12, and 24 months.


University hospitals.


One hundred twenty-nine volunteer TGCT patients and a control group of 257 fertile men.


Routine semen analyses, sperm DNA, and chromatin assessments.

Main Outcome Measure(s):

Comparisons of mean sperm characteristics before and after treatment, with sperm recovery analyzed by the Kaplan-Meier method.


The quantitative and qualitative sperm characteristics decreased after treatment, with lowest values at 3 and 6 months and with variations according to treatment type. The mean total sperm count recovered to pretreatment values at 12 months after treatment after two or fewer bleomycin, etoposide, and cisplatin (BEP) cycles, but not after radiotherapy or more than two BEP cycles. Only the treatment modalities and pretreatment sperm production were related to recovery of the World Health Organization reference sperm values. An increased proportion of patients had elevated high sperm DNA stainability at 6 months after radiotherapy.


Adjuvant treatments for testicular germ cell tumor have drastic effects on spermatogenesis and sperm chromatin quality. These new data on both the recovery period according to treatment modalities and the post-treatment chromatin status of sperm are useful tools for counseling patients wishing to conceive.

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