Many childhood cancer survivors dream of having children of their own. Advances in fertility preservation, especially for girls, are helping make that dream possible. Findings from the St. Jude Lifetime Cohort study (St. Jude LIFE) may also help.
In a study of 921 female St. Jude LIFE participants, more than one in 10 had premature ovarian insufficiency. This condition can cause infertility. Survivors who had received abdominal radiation were more likely to have the condition than other survivors. High-dose chemotherapy with drugs called alkylating agents increased the risk even more.
“The results should help better identify patients at the start of treatment who are most likely to benefit from fertility preservation,” said Wassim Chemaitilly, MD, of St. Jude Pediatric Medicine–Endocrinology.
The study also revealed that survivors with premature ovarian insufficiency were more likely than other survivors to have weak bones and frail health as young adults. Chemaitilly called for more research to understand treatment options.
The research appeared in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.