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  • Tammiste, Triin; Kask, Keiu; Padrik, Peeter; Idla, Kulli; Rosenstein, Karin; Jatsenko, Tatjana; Veerus, Piret; Salumets, Andres (2019)
    BackgroundOvarian insufficiency is a major concern for long-term cancer survivors. Although semen freezing is well established to preserve male fertility, the possibilities to secure post-cancer female fertility are mostly limited to oocyte or embryo freezing. These methods require time-consuming ovarian stimulation with or without in vitro fertilization (IVF) that evidently delays cancer therapy. Ovarian tissue cryopreservation and subsequent thawed tissue autotransplantation are considered the most promising alternative strategy for restoring the fertility of oncology patients, which has not yet received the full clinical acceptance. Therefore, all successful cases are needed to prove its reliability and safety.Case presentationHere we report a single case in Estonia, where a 28-year-old woman with malignant breast neoplasm had ovarian cortex cryopreserved before commencing gonadotoxic chemo- and radiotherapy. Two years after cancer therapy, the patient underwent heterotopic ovarian tissue transplantation into the lateral pelvic wall. The folliculogenesis was stimulated in the transplanted tissue by exogenous follicle-stimulating hormone and oocytes were collected under ultrasound guidance for IVF and embryo transfer. The healthy boy was born after full-term gestation in 2014, first in Eastern Europe.ConclusionDespite many countries have reported the first implementation of the ovarian tissue freezing and transplantation protocols, the data is still limited on the effectiveness of heterotopic ovarian transplant techniques. Thus, all case reports of heterotopic ovarian tissue transplantation and long-term follow-ups to describe the children's health are valuable source of clinical experience.
  • Stukenborg, Jan-Bernd; Jahnukainen, Kirsi; Hutka, Marsida; Mitchell, Rod T. (2018)
    Testicular function and future fertility may be affected by cancer treatment during childhood. Whilst survival of the germ (stem) cells is critical for ensuring the potential for fertility in these patients, the somatic cell populations also play a crucial role in providing a suitable environment to support germ cell maintenance and subsequent development. Regulation of the spermatogonial germ-stem cell niche involves many signalling pathways with hormonal influence from the hypothalamo-pituitary-gonadal axis. In this review, we describe the somatic cell populations that comprise the testicular germ-stem cell niche in humans and how they may be affected by cancer treatment during childhood. We also discuss the experimental models that may be utilized to manipulate the somatic environment and report the results of studies that investigate the potential role of somatic cells in the protection of the germ cells in the testis from cancer treatment.
  • Poganitsch-Korhonen, M.; Masliukaite, I.; Nurmio, M.; Lahteenmaki, P.; van Wely, M.; van Pelt, A. M. M.; Jahnukainen, K.; Stukenborg, J-B (2017)
  • Nurmio, Mirja; Asadi-Azarbaijani, Babak; Hou, Mi; Kiviö, Ronja; Toppari, Jorma; Tinkanen, Helena; Laine, Tiina; Oskam, Irma C.; Jahnukainen, Kirsi (2022)
    Simple Summary Cryopreservation of ovarian tissue is a promising technique for fertility preservation in cancer patients at increased risk for subfertility. The International Guideline Harmonization Group recommends ovarian tissue cryopreservation for children and young adults before therapy with cumulative doses of alkylating agent at or above 6000-8000 mg/m(2). A therapy that poses a high risk of subfertility is rarely the first-line therapy and many of the patients have already undergone several regimens of chemotherapy. The aim of our study was to assess the effects of chemotherapy exposures on the quality of cryopreserved ovarian tissue. We confirmed the harmful effects of alkylating agents on xenografted ovarian tissue and suggest that cumulative doses which are not regarded as an indication for fertility preservation in children and young adult may decrease the quality of cryopreserved follicles. Purpose and methods: To elucidate whether previous cancer treatment affects graft recovery and follicle numbers, morphology, and development in grafts, cryopreserved ovarian biopsies obtained from 18 cancer patients aged 1-24 years with and without exposure to chemotherapy were xenografted as 1 mm(3) fragments to immunodeficient mice for 22 weeks with exogenous stimulation. Results: Graft recovery showed no association with chemotherapy exposure, pubertal stage, or leukemia contamination. Total follicle number per recovered graft varied between 0 and 1031 in the chemotherapy-exposed and between 0 and 502 in the non-chemotherapy-exposed group. Atretic follicles formed the largest proportion of the follicle pool in chemotherapy-exposed grafts. Increased atresia correlated with exposure to alkylating agents (mean +/- SD 8866.2 +/- 9316.3 mg/m(2)) but not with anthracyclines, pubertal stage, or leukemia contamination. Conclusion: The observation confirms the harmful effects of alkylating agents on ovarian tissue. Therapy at the median cumulative dose of 8866 mg/m(2) leads to the decreased quality of cryopreserved ovarian follicles in children and young adults.
  • Azarbaijani, Babak Asadi; Sheikhi, Mona; Oskam, Irma C.; Nurmio, Mirja; Laine, Tiina; Tinkanen, Helena; Makinen, Sirpa; Tanbo, Tom G.; Hovatta, Outi; Jahnukainen, Kirsi (2015)
    Background Cryopreservation of ovarian tissue has been widely accepted as an option for fertility preservation among cancer patients. Some patients are exposed to chemotherapy prior to ovarian tissue cryopreservation. Consequently, assessment of the developmental capacity of human ovarian tissue after chemotherapy is of primary importance. Materials In order to study the impact of previous chemotherapy on in vitro development and viability of ovarian follicles, quality control samples from 34 female cancer patients at median age of 15 years (range 1-35), cryopreserved for fertility preservation before (n = 14) or after (n = 20) initiation of chemotherapy, were thawed and cultured for 7 days. The morphology and developmental stages of ovarian follicles were studied by light microscopy before and after culture. Possible associations between follicular densities, age and exposure to alkylating agents, expressed as cyclophosphamide equivalent dose (CED) were tested. Results Exposure to chemotherapy significantly impaired the survival and development of ovarian follicles in culture. After seven days, significantly higher densities of intermediary, primary and secondary follicles and lower densities of atretic follicles was detected in the samples collected before chemotherapy. Increasing dose of alkylating agents was identified by multivariate linear regression analysis as an independent predictor of a higher density of atretic follicles, whereas increasing age of the patient predicted a better outcome with less follicle atresia and a higher density of maturing follicles. Conclusion This study provides quantitative in vitro evidence of the impact of chemotherapy on developmental capacity of cryopreserved human ovarian tissue. The results indicate that fertility preservation should be carried out, if possible, before initiation of alkylating agents in order to guarantee better in vitro survival of ovarian follicles. In addition, ovarian samples from younger girls show lower viability and fewer developing follicles in culture.
  • Masliukaite, Ieva; Hagen, Julie M.; Jahnukainen, Kirsi; Stukenborg, Jan-Bernd; Repping, Sjoerd; van der Veen, Fulco; van Wely, Madelon; van Pelt, Ans M. M. (2016)
    Objective: To collect published data on spermatogonial quantity in the testes of healthy children and calculate the reference values of spermatogonial quantities throughout prepuberty. Design: Systematic literature search in PubMed and EMBASE focusing on the number of spermatogonia per transverse tubular cross section (S/T) and spermatogonial density per cubic centimeter (cm(3)) of testicular volume (S/V) throughout prepuberty. Setting: None. Patient(s): None. Intervention(s): None. Main Outcome Measure(s): Polynomial meta-regression analyses of S/T and S/V of healthy boys from the ages of 0 to 14 years. Result(s): We found six papers describing original quantitative data on S/T and S/V of healthy boys (total n = 334 and 62, respectively) that were suitable formeta-analysis. Polynomialmeta-regression analyses of S/T and S/V demonstrated a clear pattern of spermatogonial quantity throughout prepubertal life. This consisted of a decline during the first 3 years of life, a gradual increase until the ages of 6 to 7 years, a plateau until the age of 11 years, and a sharp incline reaching pubertal numbers at 13 to 14 years of age. The association between S/T and S/V allowed us to perform S/T to S/V extrapolation, creating reference S/V (rS/V) values throughout prepubertal life from a cohort of 372 boys. Conclusion(s): Spermatogonial quantity varies during testicular development toward puberty. The values found in this study may serve as a baseline clinical reference to study the impact of diseases and adverse effects of gonadotoxic treatments on spermatogonial quantity in prepubertal testes. Spermatogonial quantity reference values may also help to evaluate the quality of testicular biopsy samples acquired for fertility preservation of prepubertal boys. Copyright (C) 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. on behalf of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.
  • Pampanini, Valentina; Wagner, Magdalena; Asadi-Azarbaijani, Babak; Oskam, Irma C.; Sheikhi, Mona; Sjödin, Marcus O. D.; Lindberg, Johan; Hovatta, Outi; Sahlin, Lena; Bjorvang, Richelle D.; Otala, Marjut; Damdimopoulou, Pauliina; Jahnukainen, Kirsi (2019)
    STUDY QUESTION: Does first-line chemotherapy affect the quality of ovarian pre-antral follicles and stromal tissue in a population of young patients? SUMMARY ANSWER: Exposure to first-line chemotherapy significantly impacts follicle viability, size of residual intact follicles, steroid secretion in culture and quality of the stromal compartment. WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY: First-line chemotherapy is considered to have a low gonadotoxic potential, and as such, does not represent an indication for fertility preservation. Studies investigating the effects of chemotherapy on the quality of ovarian tissue stored for fertility preservation in young patients are limited and the results sometimes contradictory. STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION: We conducted a retrospective cohort study including young patients referred to three centers (Helsinki, Oslo and Tampere) to perform ovarian tissue cryopreservation for fertility preservation between 2003 and 2018. PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS: A total of 43 patients (age 1-24 years) were included in the study. A total of 25 were exposed to first-line chemotherapy before cryopreservation, whereas 18 patients were not. Density and size of follicles divided by developmental stages, prevalence of atretic follicles, health of the stromal compartment and functionality of the tissue in culture were evaluated and related to age and chemotherapy exposure. Activation of dormant follicles and DNA damage were also assessed. MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE: Patients exposed to first-line chemotherapy showed a significantly higher density of atretic primordial and intermediary follicles than untreated patients. The intact primordial and intermediary follicles were significantly smaller in size in patients exposed to chemotherapy. Production of steroids in culture was also significantly impaired and a higher content of collagen and DNA damage was observed in the stromal compartment of treated patients. Collectively, these observations may indicate reduced quality and developmental capacity of follicles as a consequence of first-line chemotherapy exposure. Neither increased activation of dormant follicles nor elevated levels of DNA damage in oocyte nuclei were found in patients exposed to chemotherapy. LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION: The two groups were not homogeneous in terms of age and the patients were exposed to different treatments, which did not allow us to distinguish the effect of specific agents. The limited material availability did not allow us to perform all the analyses on the entire set of patients. WIDER IMPLICATION OF THE FINDINGS: This study provides for the first time a comprehensive analysis of the effects of first-line chemotherapy on the health, density and functionality of follicles categorized according to the developmental stage in patients under 24 years of age. When exposed to these treatments, patients were considered at low/medium risk of infertility. Our data suggest a profound impact of these relatively safe therapies on ovarian health and encourages further exploration of this effect in follow-up studies in order to optimize fertility preservation for young cancer patients.