Sexual dysfunction is highly prevalent in male survivors of malignant lymphoma

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With improved survival in patients with lymphoma, long-term toxicity and quality of life (QoL), including sexual health, have become increasingly important.

We aimed to (1) determine the prevalence of erectile dysfunction (ED) in adult male lymphoma survivors; (2) determine whether testosterone deficiency, comorbidities, or lifestyle factors were associated; and (3) evaluate their impact on QoL.

A cross-sectional study including 172 male survivors of Hodgkin lymphoma or diffuse large B cell lymphoma diagnosed in adulthood between 2008 and 2018 was performed. Patients were in complete metabolic remission after first-line treatment and remained in remission at follow-up (3-13 years after diagnosis). Participants completed 3 questionnaires measuring sexual health and general QoL. Serum concentrations of total testosterone were measured and thorough medical history and sociodemographic factors were obtained. The Danish SEXUS Project, European Male Ageing Study, and European Organization of Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) Reference Manual were used as reference values of the general population.

Patient reported outcome measures including the 5-item International Index of Erectile Function, EORTC C30, and EORTC 22-item Sexual Health Questionnaire.

ED was reported by 55.2%, which was higher than in an age-matched Danish population cohort (17.5%). Erectile function score (5-item International Index of Erectile Function) was negatively associated with comorbidity, body mass index, smoking, and age and positively with the number of children conceived before treatment and serum concentration of total testosterone. Overt testosterone deficiency in combination with ED was detected in 10 (5.7%) of 176 survivors, including excluded survivors in hormonal treatment, which is higher than for the general population (0.1%-3.2% for men <70 years of age). Mean EORTC C30 global health score for survivors with ED was lower (67.7) than for survivors without ED (80.1) but was comparable to the general population (71.2). Furthermore, a positive association was seen between sexual function and both sexual and general QoL.

Clinical implications
Sexual health is important for QoL and related to comorbidities. The focus on improving QoL requires that both sexual health and comorbidities are addressed in the follow-up of lymphoma patients.

Strengths and limitations
Despite the relatively high number of included survivors, the cross-sectional design of this study warrants longitudinal studies to clarify the specific underlying causes of sexual dysfunction.

ED was highly prevalent and associated with comorbidity in lymphoma survivors, and more focus on sexual health and treatment related comorbidity is needed to improve sexual and general QoL.
TidsskriftSexual Medicine
Udgave nummer2
Antal sider10
StatusUdgivet - 2023

Bibliografisk note

© The Author(s) 2023. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The International Society of Sexual Medicine.

ID: 387374868