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Late Effects of Treatment for Childhood Cancer (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Late Effects of the Reproductive System



The frequency of ovarian failure following abdominal radiation therapy is related to both the age of the woman at the time of irradiation and the radiation therapy dose received by the ovaries. Whole-abdomen irradiation produces severe ovarian damage. Seventy-one percent of women in one series failed to enter puberty and 26% had premature menopause following whole-abdominal radiation therapy doses of 2,000 cGy to 3,000 cGy.[32] Other studies reported similar results in women treated with whole-abdomen irradiation [33] or craniospinal irradiation [34,35] during childhood.

Ovarian function may be impaired following treatment with combination chemotherapy that includes an alkylating agent and procarbazine such as MOPP; MVPP (nitrogen mustard [mechlorethamine], vinblastine, procarbazine, and prednisone); ChlVPP (chlorambucil, vinblastine, procarbazine, and prednisone); MDP (doxorubicin, prednisone, procarbazine, vincristine, and cyclophosphamide); or the combination of COP (cyclophosphamide, vincristine, and procarbazine) with ABVD (Adriamycin [doxorubicin], bleomycin, vinblastine, and dacarbazine). Amenorrhea was reported in 11% after MOPP (2 of 18 girls treated at age 2 to 15 years), 31% after MDP (10 of 31 girls treated at age 9.0 to 15.2 years), and 13% after ChIVPP (3 of 23 girls treated at age 6.1 to 20.0 years),[16,36,37] but in 0% after COP/ABVD (0 of 17 girls treated at age 4 to 20 years).[38]

Ovarian function was evaluated in women treated with drug combinations that did not include procarbazine. Ovarian function was normal in all of six women treated for non-Hodgkin lymphoma with a cyclophosphamide containing drug combination.[39] Others reported that pubertal progression was adversely affected in 5.8% of 17 patients treated before puberty compared with 33.3% of 18 patients treated during puberty or after menarche. However, the administration of cyclophosphamide did not correlate with the abnormal pubertal progression observed in these patients.[40] Administration of ifosfamide 27 g/m2 to 90 g/m2 to 13 females resulted in evidence of impaired estrogen production in only one patient.[31] Cisplatin administration resulted in amenorrhea in 14% of seven patients.[41]

All women who received high-dose (50 mg/kg/day x 4 days) cyclophosphamide prior to BMT for aplastic anemia developed amenorrhea following transplantation. In one series, 36 of 43 women had recovery of normal ovarian function 3 to 42 months after transplantation, including all of the 27 patients who were between ages 13 and 25 years at the time of BMT.[42] Most postpubertal women who receive TBI prior to BMT develop amenorrhea. In one series, recovery of normal ovarian function occurred in only 9 of 144 patients and was highly correlated with age at irradiation in patients younger than 25 years.[42] In a series restricted to patients who were prepubertal at the time of BMT, 44% (7 of 16) had clinical and biochemical evidence of ovarian failure.[43]

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