A common side effect of chemotherapy in breast cancer is early menopause in premenopausal patients, which is mainly a result of an indirect form of ovarian ablation, and is associated with substantial impairment of quality of life. Suppressing the production of ovarian estrogen has been shown to reduce the recurrence of hormone receptor-positive early breast cancer in premenopausal women, but whether it has an added advantage over tamoxifen is being discussed. Types of permanent ablation of the ovarian function include surgical oophorectomy and radiation-induced ovarian failure. Both are associated with similar response rates in hormone receptor-positive metastatic breast cancer. Medical castration with luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone analogs (LHRHa) has the benefit of being a reversible approach. Another advantage that premenopausal patients who wish to reduce the risk of developing premature ovarian insufficiency induced by chemotherapy may be offered LHRHa irrespective of whether they desire pregnancy and their age at diagnosis. This also helps reduce the risk of menopausal signs and symptoms as well as the loss of bone density in the long-term, which are primary concerns for women. This is of utmost importance to premenopausal women who do not want to conceive after treatment or are not candidates for fertility preservation strategies because of age. It should be emphasized that for women who are interested in fertility preservation, gamete cryopreservation remains the first option, and LHRHa is not an alternative. During chemotherapy, however, temporary ovarian suppression with LHRHa may be given to women who either have no access to a fertility clinic or who have declined chemotherapy or have contraindications.
© 2020 Durrani and Heena.