Testicular cancer and spermatogenesis

A. Botchan*, R. Hauser, L. Yogev, R. Gamzu, G. Paz, J. B. Lessing, H. Yavetz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


We retrospectively analysed the characteristics of 54 men with testicular cancer. The group comprised 32 men with pure seminoma and 22 with non-seminoma germ cell tumours (NSGCT). This group was further compared to 190 healthy sperm donor candidates. Sperm quality was found to be higher in the seminoma versus the NSGCT patients in: sperm concentration [50 (0-230) versus 17 (0-288) x 106/ml, P < 0.001], total motile sperm counts (TMC) [57 (0-508) versus 12 (0-854) x 106/ejaculate, P = 0.002], post-thaw forward motile concentration [3 (0-28) versus : 1.7 (0-17) x 106/ml, P = 0.003] and motility percentage [20 (0-57) versus 12.5 (0-42) %, P = 0.002]. Serum hormone concentrations did not differ between these two sub-groups, although the follicle stimulating hormone concentrations were higher than normal in both (14.6 ± 2.5 versus 10.4 ± 1.4 mIU/ml, P > 0.05). As is well documented, cancer patients were found to have lower sperm quality compared to healthy candidates. The existence of these differences, and the fact that testicular cancer affects spermatogenesis, indicated that the mechanisms involved in the deterioration of sperm quality can, at least partially, be attributed to the type and origin of the malignant cancer. The higher sperm counts in the seminoma group may be related to the fact that the resemblance of the seminoma cells to normal germ cells is greater than that of the NSGCT cells, and therefore they retain a better capacity to function. Due to modern assisted reproductive technologies and micromanipulation achievements, the lower yield of spermatozoa in severe cases is no longer a major obstacle to offering cryopreservation to these patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)755-758
Number of pages4
JournalHuman Reproduction
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1997


  • Non-seminoma tumour (NSGCT)
  • Seminoma tumour
  • Sperm variables


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