August 19, 2014
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Obesity, reduced gonadal function linked in men surviving childhood cancer

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In boys who have survived cancer, obesity was linked with gonadal dysfunction independent of the effects of treatments previously undergone for the disease, according to research published in Obesity.

Whether gonadal function would improve with weight normalization, particularly in survivors with obesity whose weight may be affected by factors other than lifestyle, requires further studies, researchers in the Netherlands wrote.

Karin Blijdorp, MD, of the Department of Pediatric Oncology and Hematology, Erasmus MC-Sophia Children’s Hospital, in Rotterdam, and colleagues looked at 351 men who survived childhood cancer approximately 25 years after their diagnoses (mean age, 5.9 years).

The investigators evaluated sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), total and non-SHBG-bound testosterone, inhibin B and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). BMI, waist circumference, waist–hip ratio and body composition measures, based on dual energy X-ray absorptiometry, were considered potential determinants.

Survivors with BMI >30 (adjusted mean, 9.1 nmol/L vs. 10.2 nmol/L; P=.015), high waist circumference (>102 cm) (9 vs. 11; P=.02) and high fat percentage (10 vs. 11.2; P=.004), demonstrated reductions in non-SHBG-bound testosterone. Those with high fat percentage (≥25%) showed lower ratios of inhibin B to FSH (inhibin B:FSH, beta=–34%; P=.041).

“Our study observed that obesity itself has an additive negative effect on gonadal function in survivors of childhood cancer, independent of previous gonadotoxic cancer treatment, and therefore lifestyle intervention might be beneficial,” the researchers wrote.

Disclosures: One researcher was supported by the Pediatric Oncology Centre Society for Research in Rotterdam and another by a grant from the KiKa foundation.