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Male Infertility Tied to Testicular Cancer Risk

A common factor may boost the odds for both, researchers say

MONDAY, Feb. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Infertile men may be at increased risk for testicular cancer, U.S. researchers report.

They analyzed data from more than 22,500 men in couples who sought fertility treatment between 1967 and 1998, and also examined cancer registry data. Thirty-four of the men developed testicular cancer within a year of seeking treatment for infertility.

The researchers calculated that men in couples seeking fertility treatment were 1.3 times more likely to develop testicular cancer than those of the same age in the general population. Men with male infertility factor were 2.8 times more likely to develop testicular cancer than other men.

The study appears in the Feb. 23 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

In interpreting this data, the researchers considered whether male factor infertility or its treatment might cause testicular cancer, but concluded it's highly unlikely.

"A more plausible explanation is that a common exposure underlies infertility and testicular cancer," Dr. Thomas J. Walsh and colleagues said in a new release from the journal.

These common causes may include environmental factors or faulty DNA repair (errors in the way the body responds to small areas of damage in its genetic material).

Testicular germ cell cancer is the most common cause of cancer among young men in industrialized countries, and has become more prevalent during the past 30 to 50, years according to background information in the study. During this same time, semen quality and male fertility have declined in industrialized countries.

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about testicular cancer.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: JAMA/Archives journals, news release, Feb. 23, 2009

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