Long-term effects of childhood cancer treatment on hormonal and ultrasound markers of ovarian reserve
Human Reproduction , Volume 33 - Issue 8 p. 1474- 1488
Study Question: Which treatment-related factors are (dose-dependently) associated with abnormal hormonal and ultrasound markers of ovarian reserve in female childhood cancer survivors (CCSs)?
Summary Answer: Cyclophosphamide, procarbazine, a composite group of 'other alkylating agents', dactinomycin, doxorubicin, mitoxantrone, spinal radiotherapy (RT), abdominal/pelvic RT and total body irradiation were multivariably associated with abnormal ovarian reserve markers, with dose-effect relationships being established for procarbazine and abdominal/pelvic RT.
What Is Known Already: Female childhood cancer survivors are at an increased risk of reduced ovarian function and reserve, but knowledge regarding the long-term effects of individual chemotherapeutic (CT) agents and radiotherapy fields and their respective doses is limited.
Study Design, Size, Duration: The DCOG LATER-VEVO is a nationwide retrospective cohort study in which measurements were performed between 2008 and 2014. In total, 1749 female 5-year CCSs, diagnosed before age 18 years between 1963 and 2002 and 1201 controls were invited for the study.
Participants/Materials, Setting, Methods: Ovarian reserve was assessed by anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH), follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), inhibin B levels, and antral follicle counts (AFC). The study was a multicentre study including all seven Dutch Centers for Paediatric Oncology/Haematology.
Main Results And The Role Of Chance: In total, 564 CCs and 390 controls participated in the clinical part of the study. Overall, 7.0-17.7%of CCSs and 2.4-13.6%of controls had abnormal ovarian reserve markers. Above age 35, significantly more CCSs than controls had abnormal ovarian reserve markers (AMH: 26%vs. 4%; AFC: 20%vs. 3%; inhibin B: 42%vs. 16%). For AMH and FSH, significant differences were also found below age 35. Cyclophosphamide, procarbazine, a group of 'other alkylating agents', dactinomycin, doxorubicin, mitoxantrone, spinal RT, abdominal/pelvic RT and total body irradiation were multivariably associated with at least one abnormal ovarian reserve marker. Dose-effect relationships were established for procarbazine and abdominal/pelvic RT.
Limitations, Reasons For Caution: Despite the large scale of the study, dose-effect relationships could not be investigated for all types of treatment due to a limited numbers of participants for specific analyses.
Wider Implications Of The Findings: This study demonstrated that the majority of CCSs do not show signs of a reduced ovarian reserve. However specific subgroups of CCSs appear to be associated with a high risk. Our results are important for counselling CCSs and future patients regarding parenthood and fertility preservation.
Study Funding/Competing Interests: This study was funded by the Dutch Cancer Society (Grant no. VU 2006-3622) and by the Children Cancer Free Foundation (Project no. 20). Philips Health Systems Benelux supported this study by providing three ultrasound systems and concomitant analytic software. There are no competing interests.
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van den Berg, M.H, Overbeek, A, Lambalk, C.B, Kaspers, G.J.L, Bresters, D, van den Heuvel-Eibrink, M.M, … van Dulmen-den Broeder, E. (2018). Long-term effects of childhood cancer treatment on hormonal and ultrasound markers of ovarian reserve. Human Reproduction, 33(8), 1474–1488. doi:10.1093/humrep/dey229