Pilot initiative in India to explore the gonadal function and fertility outcomes of a cohort of childhood cancer survivors

Arora P R, Misra R, Mehrotra S, Mittal C, Sharma S, Bagai P, Arora R S,
J Hum Reprod Sci. Apr-Jun. 2016 doi: 10.4103/0974-1208.183508


CONTEXT: Steady improvement in childhood cancer outcomes has led to a growing number of survivors, many of who develop long-term sequelae. There is limited data about these sequelae (including those related to fertility) on childhood cancer survivors from India. AIMS: We undertook a prospective pilot study on childhood cancer survivors from India to assess their gonadal function and fertility. SUBJECTS AND METHODS: A pediatric oncologist and a reproductive medicine specialist assessed 21 childhood cancer survivors. The risk of infertility was established using disease and treatment variables. Current status of puberty, sexuality, and fertility were assessed using clinical and biochemical parameters. Outcomes were correlated with risk group of infertility. Information was also ascertained on counseling with regards to risk of infertility. RESULTS: The cohort included 21 survivors (71% males) with a median age of 18 years who were off treatment for a median age of 7 years. Ten (48%) survivors were at low risk for infertility, 9 (43%) at medium risk and 2 (9%) at high risk. Gonadal dysfunction was seen in 3 (14%) survivors: 0/10 (0%) low risk, 1/9 (11%) medium risk, and 2/2 (100%) high risk. None of the survivors, who are at high risk or medium risk of infertility, received any counseling before treatment. CONCLUSIONS: This prospective pilot study of a cohort of childhood cancer survivors from India demonstrates a deficiency in the information provided and counseling of patients/families at the time of diagnosis with regards to the risk of infertility. Fertility outcomes of childhood cancer survivors were congruent with recognized risk groups for infertility. Future action points have been identified.