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A Journal on Pediatrics, Neonatology, Adolescent Medicine,
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

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Minerva Pediatrica 2006 April;58(2):183-191

language: Italian

Long-term effects on male gonadal function of antitumoral drugs used during childhood

Traina M. E., Guarino M., Urbani E., Vollono C.

1 Dipartimento del Farmaco Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Roma
2 Dipartimento di Ambiente e Connessa Prevenzione Primaria Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Roma


The survival rate of children and adolescents with cancer has improved dramatically in the last decades so that the prospect of survival in adulthood is today a realistic expectation for about 70% of the treated patients. However, the deleterious impact that chemotherapy and radiotherapy have on the reproductive function and future fertility could compromise the quality of life of the survivors in adulthood. The interest of the scientific community on this topic is increasing and focused on a more accurate evaluation of the reproductive risk among cancer treated children and on the development of less aggressive therapies. In the present review, some information about the long-term effects on the male reproductive function, particularly vulnerable to the cancer therapies, are reported from clinical and experimental studies. Furthermore, the concern about the development of pharmacological treatments and assisted reproductive techniques that might preserve or restore the fertility potential in children being treated with gonadotoxic cancer therapy, is discussed. These new strategies are still under experimentation and deeper knowledges on the functional development of the gonads during infancy, both in human and animals models are required. On the other hand, the future clinical application of these strategies in children rise important ethical and legal problems.

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