Value of serum antisperm antibodies in diagnosing obstructive azoospermia

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Article (peer-reviewed)

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Purpose: The requisite presence of active spermatogenesis for antisperm antibody production may be useful in identifying obstructive azoospermia. The diagnostic performance of serum antisperm antibody was evaluated as a test for obstructive azoospermia. Materials and Methods: A total of 484 men with male infertility who had undergone antisperm antibody testing were evaluated. Demographic data, patient history, and followup were recorded. Obstruction was confirmed by surgical exploration. Sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values, and positive and negative likelihood ratios were calculated to quantify diagnostic performance. ROC curves were calculated and compared. Results: Of 484 men 272 possessed documented obstruction of the vas or epididymis and 212 had documented infertility without azoospermia. The obstructed group had significantly increased antisperm antibody levels compared to the nonobstructed group. IgG, IgA, and IgM were analyzed as diagnostic tests for obstruction. The AUC for IgG, IgA and IgM ROC curves was 0.92, 0.85 and 0.67, respectively. The AUC for serum IgG against sperm tails was 0.92, 0.87 against sperm heads and 0.79 against sperm midpieces. IgG demonstrated the highest sensitivity (85%) with a specificity of 97% (chi-square test pConclusions: The presence of serum antisperm antibody was highly accurate in predicting obstructive azoospermia, particularly after vasectomy. It can obviate the need for testis biopsy, the current but more invasive and costly gold standard of detection. This allows the surgeon to proceed directly to surgical reconstruction or sperm retrieval after a simple blood test.