Responses to fertility treatment among patients with cancer: a retrospective cohort study

Cancer treatments have significant negative impacts on female fertility, but the impact of cancer itself on fertility remains to be clarified. While some studies have shown that compared with healthy women, those with cancer require higher doses of gonadotropins resulting in decreased oocyte yields, others have shown comparable oocyte yields between the two groups. The purpose of this study is to evaluate whether there is an association between any cancer and/or type of cancer, and response to ovarian stimulation for egg and embryo banking.

In this retrospective cohort study, ovarian stimulation cycles performed from June 2007 through October 2014 at a single academic medical center were reviewed to identify those undertaken for women with cancer undergoing fertility preservation (n = 147) or women with no cancer undergoing their first cycle due to male factor infertility (n = 664). Of the 147 women undergoing fertility preservation, 105 had local cancer (Stage I-III solid malignancies) and 42 had systemic cancer (hematologic or Stage IV solid malignancies). Response to ovarian stimulation was compared among these two groups and women with no cancer.

Adjusting for age and BMI, women with systemic cancer had lower baseline antral follicle counts (AFC) than women with no cancer or local cancer. Women with systemic cancer required higher doses of FSH than women with no cancer or local cancer, and they had higher oocyte to AFC ratios than women with no cancer or local cancer, but greater odds of cycle cancellation as compared to women with no cancer or local cancer. No significant differences were observed among the three groups for duration of stimulation, number of oocytes and mature oocytes retrieved, or number of embryos created.

Women with cancer achieve similar oocyte and embryo yields as women with no cancer, although those with systemic cancer require higher FSH doses and are at greater risk of cycle cancellation.

Fertility research and practice. 2018 Apr 17*** epublish ***

A V Dolinko, L V Farland, S A Missmer, S S Srouji, C Racowsky, E S Ginsburg

1Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Biology, Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, 75 Francis Street, ASB I-3, Boston, MA 02115 USA.