Thursday, 5 March 2015

Drug May Help Some Breast Cancer Patients Avoid Early Menopause

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Standard chemo can end fertility, but adding goserelin helped some survivors go on to conceive, study found


WebMD News from HealthDay

By Robert Preidt

HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, March 4, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Breast cancer chemotherapy can trigger an unfortunate side effect for some patients -- early menopause.

But a new study suggests that adding the drug goserelin to chemotherapy cuts the odds of that happening in women with certain early-stage breast cancers.

"These findings provide hope for young women with breast cancer who would like to prevent early menopause or still have children," senior study author Dr. Kathy Albain, medical oncologist and director of the Breast Cancer Clinical Research Program at Loyola University, said in a university news release.

The study was funded by the U.S. National Cancer Institite and was published March 4 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

According to Albain, "some of the most distressing side effects of chemotherapy in young women with breast cancer are early and sudden onset of menopause and infertility."

Another expert in breast cancer care agreed. "For decades we have been treating premenopausal women with chemotherapy, which decreases the risk of developing metastatic breast cancer and improves overall survival," said Dr. George Raptis, an oncologist at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y.

However, while many younger women survive their cancer, they find themselves "unable to reproduce" due to their treatment, he said.

In the new study, Albain's team tracked outcomes for 257 premenopausal women younger than 50, all of who had been diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer.

The women were randomly assigned to receive either standard chemotherapy or chemotherapy with goserelin (Zoladex).

After two years, 22 percent of the women who received standard chemotherapy had stopped menstruating or had reduced estrogen production and egg supply, compared with only 8 percent of those who had received goserelin.

Fertility got a boost, too: Pregnancy rates were 21 percent in the goserelin group and 11 percent in the standard chemotherapy group, the study found.

Goserelin works to shield fertility by temporarily putting the ovaries "at rest" during chemotherapy, Albain explained.

"We found that, in addition to reducing the risk of sudden, early menopause, and all of the symptoms that go along with menopause, goserelin was very safe and may even improve survival," she said.



source : Drug May Help Some Breast Cancer Patients Avoid Early Menopause

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