Dr. Khan on the Ideal Patients for GnRH Agonists in Breast Cancer

Supplements And Featured Publications, Milestones in Medicine: Premenopausal Patients With Breast Cancer and Fertility Preservation, Volume 1, Issue 1

Zaraq Khan, MBBS, discusses which patients with breast cancer would be ideal candidates to receive treatment with a GnRH agonist for ovarian protection.

Zaraq Khan, MBBS, gynecologist, reproductive endocrinologist, Obstetrics and Gynecology, the Mayo Clinic, discusses which patients with breast cancer would be ideal candidates to receive treatment with a GnRH agonist for ovarian protection.

The use of GnRH agonists in premenopausal patients with breast cancer can help preserve ovarian function by suppressing activity to protect the tissue from the cytotoxic effects of chemotherapy.

Female patients with breast cancer who are still within their reproductive age group could be candidates to receive a GnRH agonist, Khan says. Notably, data regarding the use of GnRH agonists and their effect on preserving ovarian function are still unclear, since it is difficult to study fertility, Khan notes. Past studies have examined patients for the return of normal menstrual function, but the return of menstrual function is not the equivalent of the return of fertility, Khan explains.

The logistics of hospital systems and insurance companies can represent hurdles, but GnRH agonists are readily available for these select patients, Khan notes. If other steps are not being taken to protect ovarian function and fertility, a GnRH agonist makes sense for many premenopausal patients with breast cancer, Khan concludes.