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Volume 21, Issue 4 (July 2019) 21, 332–336; 10.4103/aja.aja_93_18

Inhibin B: are modified ranges needed for orchiectomised testicular cancer patients?

Alessandra Petrozzi1, Francesco Pallotti1, Marianna Pelloni1, Antonella Anzuini2, Antonio Francesco Radicioni2, Andrea Lenzi1, Donatella Paoli1, Francesco Lombardo1

1 Laboratory of Seminology, Sperm Bank "Loredana Gandini", Department of Experimental Medicine, Medical Pathophysiology Section, "Sapienza" University of Rome, Rome 00161, Italy
2 Hormone Laboratory, Department of Experimental Medicine, Medical Pathophysiology Section, "Sapienza" University of Rome, Rome 00161, Italy

Correspondence: Dr. F Lombardo (francesco.lombardo@uniroma1.it)



Inhibin B is a gonadal hormone that downregulates the pituitary production of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). In recent years, inhibin B has proved to be an excellent marker of spermatogenesis and even a predictive factor for the recovery of fertility in patients undergoing orchiectomy and antineoplastic treatments. We propose to study inhibin B levels in orchiectomised testicular cancer patients, in order to identify a minimum value representative of normal semen quality. This retrospective study evaluates hormonal and semen parameters of 290 normozoospermic patients attending the Laboratory of Seminology - Sperm Bank “Loredana Gandini” (Rome, Italy) for cryopreservation of seminal fluid following a diagnosis of testicular cancer (TC group) and 117 healthy, normozoospermic men as a control group (CTR group). The percentile distribution of gonadotropin and inhibin B values in the TC and CTR groups was analyzed. There was a statistically significant difference between the two groups in the levels of all hormones (P ≤ 0.001) and in all semen parameters (P < 0.05). About 20% of TC patients revealed inhibin B levels below the 5th percentile of CTR group, despite normozoospermia, and 31.4% had normal spermatogenesis in the presence of FSH values >95th percentile of CTR group. Orchiectomised patients for testicular cancer presented inhibin B levels lower than healthy patients, despite normozoospermia. Our study revealed the poor sensitivity of the current inhibin B reference range when applied to monorchidic patients, suggesting the need to establish more representative ranges to enable more appropriate counseling in relation to the patient's new endocrine condition.

Keywords: inhibin B; orchiectomy; reference range; testicular cancer

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