Follicle Stimulating Hormone is an accurate predictor of azoospermia in childhood cancer survivors

Thomas W. Kelsey, Lauren McConville, Angela B. Edgar, Alex I. Ungurianu, Rod T Mitchell, Richard A. Anderson, W. Hamish B. Wallace

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27 Citations (Scopus)


The accuracy of Follicle Stimulating Hormone as a predictor of azoospermia in adult survivors of childhood cancer is unclear, with conflicting results in the published literature. A systematic review and post hoc analysis of combined data (n = 367) were performed on all published studies containing extractable data on both serum Follicle Stimulating Hormone concentration and semen concentration in survivors of childhood cancer. PubMed and Medline databases were searched up to March 2017 by two blind investigators. Articles were included if they contained both serum FSH concentration and semen concentration, used World Health Organisation certified methods for semen analysis, and the study participants were all childhood cancer survivors. There was no evidence for either publication bias or heterogeneity for the five studies. For the combined data (n = 367) the optimal Follicle Stimulating Hormone threshold was 10.4 IU/L with specificity 81% (95% CI 76%–86%) and sensitivity 83% (95% CI 76%–89%). The AUC was 0.89 (95%CI 0.86–0.93). A range of threshold FSH values for the diagnosis of azoospermia with their associated sensitivities and specificities were calculated. This study provides strong supporting evidence for the use of serum Follicle Stimulating Hormone as a surrogate biomarker for azoospermia in adult males who have been treated for childhood cancer.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0181377
Number of pages11
JournalPLoS One
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jul 2017


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