Fertility preservation procedures for women with breast cancer won’t raise the risk of their cancer returning later, a new Swedish study shows.
Women who had eggs or embryos frozen before going through chemotherapy did not have any increased risk of cancer recurrence or death compared with women who didn’t get the procedures, the investigators found.
“This is valuable information that can contribute to changed care routines when it comes to young women with breast cancer who want to preserve their fertility,” senior study author Kenny Rodriguez-Wallberg, research group leader at the Karolinska Institute’s department of oncology-pathology, said in an institute news release.
About one in 10 women with breast cancer are of childbearing age. Chemotherapy can render them infertile, so many women choose to have embryos or eggs frozen – sometimes with hormonal stimulation to help produce multiple eggs.
However, there’s been a concern that hormonal stimulation could affect their breast cancer treatment and outcome, the study authors noted.
For this study, the scientists analyzed data on 425 women with breast cancer who underwent fertility preservation, and compared them to a control group of 850 breast cancer patients who didn’t preserve their fertility.
All of the women were of childbearing age and were treated for breast cancer between 1994 and 2017.
Five years after treatment for breast cancer, the survival rate was 96% in the hormonal stimulation group, 93% in the group that underwent procedures for fertility preservation without hormone stimulation, and 90% in the group that did not undergo procedures for fertility preservation, according to the report.
Meanwhile, the percentage of breast cancer patients who didn’t suffer relapse during the five-year follow-up was 89% among those who underwent hormonal stimulation of the ovaries, and 82% among women who did not undergo procedures for fertility preservation.
The researchers plan to follow the women for another five years.
The study was published online Aug. 25 in JAMA Oncology.
Johns Hopkins has more about fertility preservation in breast cancer patients.
SOURCES: Karolinska Institute, news release, Aug. 25, 2022