[MOL] Male infertility linked to cancer.... [00128] Medicine On Line

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[MOL] Male infertility linked to cancer....

Male Infertility Linked to Cancer

      Nature may have a reason why some men are infertile, say researchers who found that the inability to reproduce may be linked to cancer.
      Scientists at the University of California at San Francisco discovered that some infertile men showed a DNA repair problem. DNA, the genetic code that makes humans who they are, usually has its own repair system to protect the body from developing disease. But if broken, faulty DNA can lead to health problems. This same DNA problem associated with infertility in men, researchers report, is also associated with tumor growth.
      Cancer is the result of cells growing uncontrollably because DNA was unable to keep cells in check. The California research team compared 10 men, five with normally functioning testes and five whose testes produced little or no sperm. The latter group showed a 100-fold higher rate in DNA errors than the men with normal testes, researchers report in the June issue of Human Reproduction, a British medical journal.
      The researchers also point to previous studies involving animals. When genes responsible for DNA repair were altered in mice, the mice developed tumors and also became infertile.
      It's not known whether an infertile man with this type of faulty DNA who has a child through assisted reproduction will pass the faulty DNA on to the child, and if the child would be at risk for developing cancer. "The implications are that maybe infertility is not a minor problem," says study co-author Dr. Paul Turek, a professor of urology. "Maybe there is a very good reason for men to be infertile."
--By Katrina Woznicki

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