Home Echo Discussions Module 2 Discussion Immunotherapy

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    Do we know if the use of immunotherapy causes the same types of infertility issues for males as cytotoxic chemotherapy?



    From the modules, it seems like this information is unknown as immunotherapy is still a developing field.  I do believe that it is important to still have the conversation about fertility preservation in this patient population.


    I was curious about this as well, given some of the immunotherapy treatment lines are so length.

    Be very curious to see what Dr. Tsai’s group finds [source at the end]:

    With a growing number of younger patients receiving immunotherapy, discussion around fertility and family-planning issues is becoming increasingly important.

    The National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines advise that patients of reproductive age use effective birth control during and for at least 5 months after immunotherapy.

    “But I’ve demonstrated how long that course of therapy can be, so as a group we need to get better about talking about these issues,” Dr Tsai said.

    To answer the question of whether immunotherapy affects fertility, Dr Tsai and colleagues are launching several prospective studies at UCSF. They are currently collecting semen analyses in men starting immunotherapy and are hoping to add a female cohort once the infrastructure is in place.



    Thank you for this post. I think this is an area where we definitely need more research and support. The manufacturer hand outs are often very clear in their statement that female patients should use contraception and not to try to get pregnant for at least 5 months after treatment is completed. For males, there is no clear data to guide us, so most practitioners are following the same guidelines for the females as a precaution.

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