- Alkylating chemotherapy is often used to treat pre-menopausal women for various malignancies and autoimmune diseases. Chemotherapy-associated ovarian failure is a potential consequence of this treatment which can cause infertility, and increases the risk of other long term adverse health sequelae.
- Randomised trials, predominantly of women undergoing alkylating chemotherapy for breast cancer, have shown evidence for the efficacy of gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists (GnRHa) in preventing chemotherapy-associated ovarian failure.
- The European St Gallen and United States National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines recommend the use of concurrent GnRHa to reduce the risk of ovarian failure for pre-menopausal women undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer.
- The GnRHa goserelin, a monthly 3.6 mg depot subcutaneous injection, has recently been listed on the Australian Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme to reduce risk of ovarian failure for pre-menopausal women receiving alkylating therapies for malignancy or autoimmune disease.
- The first dose of goserelin should ideally be administered at least 1 week before commencement of alkylating treatment and continued 4-weekly during chemotherapy.
- Concurrent goserelin use should now be considered for all pre-menopausal women due to commence alkylating chemotherapy (except those with incurable cancer), regardless of their childbearing status, in an effort to preserve their ovarian function. For women who have not completed childbearing, consideration of other fertility preservation options, such as cryopreservation of embryos or oocytes, is also important.
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