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Male Infertility Linked to Testicular Cancer Risk

Risk in men with male factor infertility almost three times as high as in general population

THURSDAY, Feb. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Men with male factor infertility showed a markedly higher risk of testicular cancer than men in the general population, according to research published in the Feb. 23 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Thomas J. Walsh, M.D., of the University of California San Francisco, and colleagues analyzed data from 22,562 men who were among couples who sought infertility care from 1967 to 1998; these men were linked to the California Cancer Registry. Of the cohort, 4,549 men had male factor infertility.

In men with male factor infertility, the risk of testicular cancer was significantly higher than in men in the general California population (13 cases versus an expected five, for a standardized incidence ratio of 2.8), the investigators found. A significantly higher risk was not seen in men without male factor infertility, the researchers note.

"A…plausible explanation is that a common exposure underlies infertility and testicular cancer. Prior work by us and others suggests that certain severe forms of male infertility are associated with faulty DNA repair. Faulty DNA repair has classically been associated with tumorigenesis, in human and animal models, and could underlie the association of infertility and testicular cancer," the authors write. "In addition to this biological basis, the testicular dysgenesis syndrome, as hypothesized by Skakkebaek and colleagues, is a theoretical construct that attempts to relate environmental modulators, genetics and infertility in the development of testicular cancer."

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