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SABCS 2017: Treatment With GnRHa and Ovarian Function in Women Receiving Chemotherapy for Breast Cancer

By: Joseph Cupolo
Posted: Wednesday, December 20, 2017

According to data presented at the 2017 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS; Abstract GS4-01), treatment with a gonadotropin-releasing hormone analog (GnRHa) could safely and effectively protect ovarian function and potentially preserve fertility in premenopausal women receiving chemotherapy for early-stage breast cancer. This finding was based on a pooled analysis of 5 randomized trials including 873 patients.

“Temporary ovarian suppression obtained by administering GnRHa during chemotherapy is a medical intervention with the potential to preserve ovarian function and fertility in premenopausal breast cancer patients; however, to date, the role of this option remains controversial,” noted lead investigator Matteo Lambertini, MD, a medical oncologist and European Society for Medical Oncologists (ESMO) fellow at the Institut Jules Bordet in Brussels, Belgium.

According to the investigators, the premature ovarian insufficiency rate in the GnRHa group was 14.1% versus 30.9% in the control group; patients in the GnRHa group had 62% lower risk of developing premature ovarian insufficiency as compared with those treated with chemotherapy alone.

“Our study adds important evidence on both the efficacy and the safety of temporary ovarian suppression with GnRHa during chemotherapy, not only in patients with estrogen receptor–negative disease but also in women with estrogen receptor–positive tumors, who account for the majority of new cases of breast cancer in young women,” Dr. Lambertini commented. A total of 37 in the GnRHa group had at least 1 post-treatment pregnancy during the follow-up period compared with 20 patients in the control group.