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The Effects of Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy on Fertility in Premenopausal Women

Fleischer, Roni T. MBBS*; Vollenhoven, Beverley J. MBBS, PhD, FRANZCOG, CREI; Weston, Gareth C. MBBS, MPH, PhD, FRANZCOG, CREI

Obstetrical & Gynecological Survey: April 2011 - Volume 66 - Issue 4 - p 248-254
doi: 10.1097/OGX.0b013e318224e97b

With the improved survival rate of childhood and young adult cancer patients, the long-term sequelae of the treatments used are increasingly important. In this review, current knowledge of the gonadotoxicity of commonly employed chemotherapeutic agents and radiotherapy regimens is examined. Differences between the effect of “high-risk” and “low-risk” agents are discussed. Tailoring treatment to suit the individual and counseling patients regarding reduced fertility have resulted in the best practice.

Target Audience: Obstetricians & Gynecologists, Family Physicians.

Learning Objectives: After completing this CME activity, physicians should be better able to evaluate and use appropriate methods to estimate ovarian reserve, assess the risk of infertility caused by commonly used cytotoxic chemotherapy regimens and radiation, and counsel patients regarding the gonadotoxic effects of cancer treatment.

*Physician, †Associate Professor, Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Level 5 Monash Medical Centre, Melbourne, Australia

Chief Editor's Note: This article is part of a series of continuing education activities in this Journal through which a total of 36 AMA/PRA Category 1 Credits™ can be earned in 2009. Instructions for how CME credits can be earned appear on the last page of the Table of Contents.

All authors and staff in a position to control the content of this CME activity and their spouses/life partners (if any) have disclosed that they have no financial relationships with, or financial interests in, any commercial organizations pertaining to this educational activity.

Correspondence requests to: Roni T. Fleischer, MBBS, Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Level 5 Monash Medical Centre, 246 Clayton Rd, Clayton, VIC 3168, Australia. Email:

© 2011 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.