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18-11-2009 | Oncology | Article

Oocyte retrieval does not delay adjuvant chemotherapy


Free abstract

MedWire News: Procedures to safeguard the fertility of young women with breast cancer do not significantly delay the start of adjuvant chemotherapy, US researchers report.

Protecting fertility motivates young women with breast cancer to seek oocyte or embryo cryopreservation but concerns about delays in cancer treatment may influence their decision, say Irene Wapnir (Stanford University, California) and colleagues.

In this study, Wapnir and team compared timing of chemotherapy in 19 women with breast cancer who underwent ovarian stimulation/oocyte retrieval and embryo cryopreservation with 63 women who did not (control group).

The average age of the women was 33.7 years in the oocyte retrieval group and 35.2 years in the control group. The proportion of women who had never been pregnant was much higher in the oocyte retrieval group, at 84.2% compared with 25.4% in the control group.

The researchers report that the median time from initial diagnosis to reproductive endocrinology consultation was 28 days and from referral to oocyte retrieval was 32 days.

Overall, the median interval between cancer diagnosis and definitive cancer surgery did not differ significantly between the two groups. Women who underwent oocyte retrieval waited 46 days for surgery compared with 31 days for women in the control group.

Likewise, the median time from initial diagnosis to adjuvant chemotherapy did not differ between the groups, at 71 days in the oocyte retrieval group compared with 67 days in the control group.

The median time interval from definitive operation to chemotherapy was also similar between the two groups, at 30 days for the oocyte retrieval group and 29 days for the control group.

Wapnir et al note: “A number of patients in both groups had strikingly long time intervals from diagnosis to chemotherapy – more than 105 days – indicating that the start of chemotherapy can be slowed by multiple operations, consultations with other specialists, or patient personal factors.”

They conclude in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons: “The time investment required for ovarian stimulation/oocyte retrieval and cryopreservation is manageable and does not significantly prolong the time interval from diagnosis to start of adjuvant chemotherapy.”

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2009

By Laura Dean

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