SALT LAKE CITY – Both male and female recipients of childhood hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) were very likely to have severely decreased fertility potential, even in the setting of preserved puberty, according to a recent study of adolescent and young adult HSCT recipients.
A reduced intensity conditioning regimen did not protect this cohort from decreased fertility, a finding that surprised the study’s lead author.
“We had hypothesized that, as compared to myeloablative conditioning, reduced intensity conditioning in children who received HSCT would lower the risk of infertility and lessen gonadal failure,” said Helen Oquendo del Toro, MD. In fact, Dr. Oquendo del Toro and her collaborators found that more than 90% of semen samples available for analysis had results that indicated infertility or severely impaired fertility, regardless of the type of pretransplant conditioning the patient had received.
The study highlights the need for fertility preservation when possible before HSCT, and makes clear that “normal puberty does not equate to normal fertility,” said Dr. Oquendo del Toro, of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.
Dr. Oquendo del Toro presentedof an observational cohort study of late effects of HSCT that included individuals aged 1-40 years old who received a single HSCT at, or after, 1 year of age.
Twenty-one males in the study had semen available for analysis. Of the 10 males who received myeloablative conditioning (MAC), 8 had azoospermia, and 2 more had oligoteratospermia (low sperm count with abnormal morphology). For the 11 males who received reduced intensity conditioning (RIC), eight had azoospermia, two had semen samples that showed oligoteratospermia, and one had a normal semen analysis.
The median age at transplant for these males was 14.5 years, and patients were a median of 19 years old at follow-up, Dr. Oquendo del Toro said at the combined annual meetings of the Center for International Blood & Marrow Transplant Research and the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation.