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Breast cancer: heading towards a substitute in terms of freezing oocytes or embryos?

Publié le : 3 June 2014

 In the case of breast cancer, chemotherapy may “trigger ovarian failure by reducing the quantity and quality of ovules stored in the ovaries“. The amount stored cannot be replenished. The only solution currently available to women who wish to have a child after chemotherapy is to freeze their oocytes or embryos and therefore stimulate the ovaries during a risk-free period.

But that could change. In fact, “hormone therapy could help young women suffering from a certain type of breast cancer to preserve their fertility more effectively during chemotherapy” and prolong their life. The phase 3 clinical trial shows that a monthly injection of goserelin during chemotherapy reduces the risk of ovarian failure by 64%. How does this work? The treatment blocks oestrogen production, “causes a temporary menopause” and thus preserves the patient’s fertility to greater extent.

The clinical trial has focused on a cohort of 257 non-menopausal women suffering from a “malignant breast tumour with negative hormone receptors“. According to the results of the trial, only “8% of patients who received a monthly [goserelin] injection experienced ovarian failure after two years, compared to 22% in the control group“. Furthermore, these women “were twice as likely to have a normal pregnancy on completion of chemotherapy”. 

For Dr. Halle Moore, at the Cleveland Clinic, principal author of the study presented at the annual conference of the American society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in Chicago, “Goserelin appears to be not only highly safe but also effective, as it increased the odds of becoming pregnant and delivering a healthy baby following chemotherapy“. 

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