ASCO: Preserving fertility during breast cancer

Fertility preservation is a common concern among women undergoing chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer. New findings from a phase 3 trial reveal that adding Zoladex (goserelin), a hormone-suppressing drug, to standard chemotherapy may help preserve fertility in women with early-stage, hormone receptor-negative breast cancer. In the study, premenopausal women who were given goserelin with a cyclophosphamide-containing chemotherapy were less likely to have ovarian failure than women who received chemotherapy alone. The addition of goserelin also seemed to improve the chances of a successful pregnancy. Goserelin is a luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone, which turns off ovarian function for a short time. Researchers hypothesize that this action protects the ovaries from chemotherapy damage. Kathy Albain of Loyola University and a senior author of the research, said in the study goserelin costs $500 to $600 per injection and patients received four injections. An unexpected finding was that women who received goserelin were also 50 percent more likely to survive four years after starting treatment compared with those who did not receive goserelin. Lead researcher Halle Moore of the Cleveland Clinic cautioned more research needs to be completed to confirm these results. Patricia Ganz, director of cancer prevention and control research at UCLA and moderator of the session, said the research presented on the use of goserelin for fertility preservation in this group of patients may be practice changing. For more information about fertility preservation during cancer, check out CURE's article "Managing Expectations" and our infographic with data and resources on fertility, "Fertility & Cancer."