Management of Primary Ovarian Insufficiency Symptoms in Survivors of Childhood and Adolescent Cancer

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Cancer treatments can damage the ovaries, causing primary ovarian insufficiency (POI), a condition associated with numerous sequelae that impact long-term quality of life. This article systematically reviews the literature on the prevalence, surveillance, and treatment of POI in survivors of pediatric and adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancers. A systematic review of the literature was conducted in January 2018 through a search of Medline, Embase, Web of Science, and SCOPUS, alongside the screening of relevant reference lists. An initial search identified 746 potentially relevant studies. A total of 36 studies were included in the final review. Studies were categorized into one of the following categories: incidence/prevalence of POI, measurement of ovarian reserve, and other. Depending on patient characteristics, cancer diagnosis, and treatment, the prevalence of POI ranged from 2.1% to 82.2%. Risk factors for POI included exposure to alkylating agents and abdominal/pelvic radiation. POI may be associated with a number of complications, including low bone mineral density and poor cardiovascular health. Radiotherapy and chemotherapy are known to cause gonadal damage in female survivors of pediatric and AYA cancers. Acute or chronic effects depend on the dose of treatment, age of the individual, radiotherapy field, and ovarian reserve of the individual. Some women experience short-term loss of reproductive function and then may resume menstrual cycles, months or even years later. Although protecting fertility through banking of mature eggs, embryos, and tissue samples has become standard of care, additional steps need to be taken to ensure that patients have adequate hormone levels to maintain whole-body health, including life expectancy, bone health, cardiovascular health, quality of life, sexual and genitourinary function, and neurologic function. Surveillance and management of each of these comorbidities is critically important to survivor health.

Correspondence: Teresa K. Woodruff, PhD, Northwestern University, 303 East Superior Street, Room 10-121, Chicago, IL 60411. Email: tkw@northwestern.edu
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