The prognosis of malignancies in young women undergoing chemotherapy has dramatically improved recently, and more attention is given to the long term quality of life, including fertility and reproductive function preservation. Some chemotherapeutic drugs are known to be associated with gonadal toxicity (cyclophosphamide, L-phenylanine mustard, busulfan and nitrogen mustard) and others have less or un-quantified effects (doxorubicin, bleomycin, vinca alkaloids, as vincristine and vinblastin, cisplatin, nitrosoureas, cytosine arabinoside). Women are in need to identify best options to minimize ovarian damage during chemotherapy through the administration of protective drugs, better choice of therapy and with advocating oncofertility preservation. We reviewed the possible options focusing on the most studied gonadotrophin-releasing hormone agonists (GnRH-a) and the psychologically promising oral contraceptives (OC).
Controversy exist on the benefit of gonadotrophin releasing hormone agonist (GnRH-a) or combined oral contraceptive administered at time of cancer therapy in preventing premature ovarian failure in women and the available data from both human and animal studies have been mixed. The best way to preserve fertility and ovarian function in young women undergoing chemotherapy still remains to be determined. In the absence of a best approach, each case should be evaluated individually, considering patient’s wishes and expectations, the type of chemotherapy, age, obstetric history, ovarian reserve (combining multiple indicators such as basal hormone profile, anti müllerian hormone -AMH- and antral follicle count), family history of premature ovarian failure. We present a review of the available evidence on the value of administering GnRH-a and OC use to minimize or prevent the effect of chemotherapy agents on reproductive function.