Dyspermia in men with localized Hodgkin's disease. A potentially reversible, immune-mediated disorder
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Localized Hodgkin's disease (HD) is curable in the great majority of patients. However, common programs of chemotherapy for this disease render most men permanently azoospermic. In studies of seminal cryopreservation prior to treatment, it has been recognized that many men with HD are dyspermic at diagnosis. It is hypothesized that this abnormality reflects a change in the cellular regulation of spermatogenesis; specifically an alteration in the balance between distinct sub-populations of lymphocytes which normally either inhibit or stimulate the production of sperm. This change in regulation within the testes is believed to be part of a systemic perturbation which is unrelated to the extent of HD but is potentially reversible with effective treatment of the primary disease. Recognizing the distinction between sperm analyses and fertility status, it is proposed that radiotherapy of localized HD, delivered in a manner that is not toxic to the male gonad, will restore useful spermatogenesis in patients who are dyspermic (and probably subfertile) before treatment is initiated.
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