MONTREAL — Most female cancer patients appear to have normal reproductive capacity before cancer therapy, making them excellent candidates for fertility preservation, according to results of one of the first studies to compare ovarian stimulation outcomes in cancer patients and controls.
“We need to get this message out to oncologists so they can better inform their patients,” Rodolfo Quintero, M.D., said at the joint annual meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society.
Dr. Quintero reviewed the ovarian stimulation outcomes of 32 cancer patients seeking oocyte or embryo cryopreservation for fertility preservation before chemotherapy or radiation, and compared them with 31 age-matched controls who were undergoing ovarian stimulation for in vitro fertilization because of male factor infertility.
The most common single cancer diagnosis was breast cancer (10 patients). The average age of the cancer patients was 30.8 years, compared with 31.5 years in the control group. Cancer patients underwent a combined total of 35 ovarian stimulation cycles, compared with 42 cycles in the control group, said Dr. Quintero, a fellow in reproductive endocrinology and infertility at Stanford (Calif.) University Medical Center.
The study found no significant differences between groups in terms of the number of stimulation days, the amount of gonadotropins used, or the number of eggs retrieved, Dr. Quintero said. However, there were two cycle cancellations and one failed oocyte retrieval in the cancer group, versus none in the controls.