Cancer Treatment Impacts on Male Fertility Potential

Like women, cancer and cancer treatment can adversely affect the fertility potential for men. The most damaging treatment is that completed with alkylating chemotherapy. This form of treatment can destroy and impact testicular function and testosterone levels leading to reduced male fertility potential. Radiation therapy can also adversely affect male fertility potential by slowing down or even ending sperm cell production. The impact of radiation therapy can vary greatly depending on the dosage and targeted area of the body receiving the radiation.

Patients diagnosed with prostate or bladder cancer may undergo surgery to remove the cancer. In these circumstances, it often requires the removal of seminal vesicles; glands which produces seminal fluid. Surgical treatment for patients with colon or testicular cancer can lead to ejaculatory dysfunction.

If you or someone you know of childbearing age (including teenagers) is facing cancer treatment, please have them contact MCRM Fertility, immediately, at 844-41-4BABY to request a consultation. Be sure to let the MCRM Fertility staff know you are contacting us regarding Fertility Preservation due to cancer care . This will allow us to expedite your process.

Effects of Different Anti-Tumor Agents on Sperm Production

HIGH RISK (>70%)

Prolonged /permanent Azeospermia common after treatment

  • Any alkylating agent* + total body irradiation
    *e.g., busulfan, cyclophosphamide, ifosfamide, lomustine, melphalan, procarbazine
  • Any alkylationg agent* + pelvic or testicular radiation
  • Total cyclophosphamide
  • Protocols containing procarbazine: MOPP, BEACOPP
  • Protocols containing temozolomide or BCNU + cranial radiation
  • Testicular radiation
  • Total Body Irradiation (TBI) doses
  • Cranial Radiation

Prolonged/permanent Azeospermia not common after treatment, but can occur

  • Protocols containing heavy metals: BEP, Total Cisplatin, Total Carboplatin
  • Testicular radiation (die to scatter)
LOW RISK (<30%)

Treatment typically causes only temporary damage to sperm production

  • Protocols containing nonalkylating agents or lower levels of aklylating agents
    (e.g., ABVD, CHOP, COP; multi-agent therapies for leukemia)
  • Testicular radiation
  • Anthracycline + cytarabine
  • Multi-agent therapies using vincristine
  • Radioactive iodine
  • Monoclonal Antibodies
    (e.g., Cetuximab (Erbitux), Trastuzamab (Herceptin))
  • Tyrosine kinase inhibitors
    (e.g., Erlotinib (Tarceva), Imatinib (Gleevec))