Dr. Moore Discusses Ovarian Preservation in Breast Cancer

Halle Moore, MD

Halle Moore, MD, medical oncologist, the Cleveland Clinic, discusses the use of GnRH agonists to preserve ovarian function and fertility in women with breast cancer.

Moore presented the results of the POEMS study at the 2017 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS), which demonstrated that when given alongside chemotherapy, goserelin, a gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonist, improved pregnancy outcomes, disease-free survival, and overall survival outcomes in women with early-stage hormone receptor (HR)-negative breast cancer.

GnRH agonists work by putting women into temporary menopause, stopping ovarian cycling and estrogen production. While researchers are currently not entirely sure about why these agents prevent toxicity on the ovaries, one theory, Moore said, is that by preventing ovarian cycling, the ovaries get less blood flow for chemotherapy to impose negative effects–similar to how cooling caps work to prevent chemotherapy-related alopecia.

The POEMS study was also part of a larger meta-analysis, which was also presented at SABCS. This analysis included individual patient data from 5 different studies. Again, results displayed that drugs such as goserelin and other GnRH agonists can improve both pregnancy and survival outcomes, confirming the safety of this class of agents.

Moving forward, Moore mentioned that these findings suggest that physicians should more routinely be offering these agents to young women with breast cancer, especially if they one day hope to have children.
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