Treatment of cancer and infertility: Alternatives to MAP (Medically Assisted Procreation)

Publié le 24 Feb, 2017

A team of scientists in Massachusetts has noted that the anti-mullerian hormone (AMH) could prevent chemotherapy-induced ovarian damage. Pre-clinical trials in mice have highlighted that this hormone stops the egg maturation process in the ovarian follicles[1]. This property is not a discovery per se but the use of anti-mullerian hormone to preserve the follicles during chemotherapy is a hitherto unexplored option. Chemotherapy depletes ovarian reserves by stimulating these main follicles. Anti-mullerian hormone injections could “cause follicles to hibernate”  during treatment. As the process is reversible, these follicles resume their natural development following chemotherapy. An alternative to egg freezing that warrants closer study[2].


In Texas, Brian Hermann’s team has shown that injections of granulocyte colony-stimulating factors (G-CSF) could prevent the loss of masculine fertility following chemotherapy or radiotherapy[3]. This molecule has been used to date to prevent infections in these patients because it stimulates the immune system. Scientists have shown that it also stimulates the production of new sperm stem cells. “This suggests that G-CSF could be used as a retrospective treatment in restoring fertility”, they concluded. Brian Hermann who is following the research, believes that this could be a “creative solution”.


[1]Motohiro Kano, Amanda E. Sosulski, LiHua Zhang, Hatice D. Saatcioglu, Dan Wang, Nicholas Nagykery, Mary E. Sabatini, Guangping Gao, Patricia K. Donahoe, and David Pépin, AMH/MIS as a contraceptive that protects the ovarian reserve during chemotherapy, PNAS Plus – Biological Sciences – Medical Sciences (2017).

[2]Another more invasive alternative consists in collecting specimens of ovarian tissue for post-treatment anti-cancer transplantation: see Elle donne la vie à un petit garçon après une greffe d’ovaire – Baby boy born following ovarian transplant.

[3] Travis Kotzur et al, Granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) promotes spermatogenic regeneration from surviving spermatogonia after high-dose alkylating chemotherapy, Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology (2017).

Medical Daily (1/02/2017); Le quotidien du médecin, Damien Coulomb (13/02/2017)

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