Fertility status among women treated for aggressive non-Hodgkin's lymphoma

Avishay Elis, Aharon Tevet, Ronit Yerushalmi, Dorit Blickstein, Osnat Bairy, Eldad Dann, Zeev Blumenfeld, Avigdor Abraham, Yosef Manor, Offer Shpilberg, Michael Lishner

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63 Scopus citations


In young women treated for intermediate-high-grade non-Hodgkin's lymphoma with CHOP (cyclophosphamide, adriamycin, oncovine and prednisone), there is insufficient data concerning gonadotoxicity or the need for fertility-preserving measures. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the fertility status in the first complete remission of women who were treated for aggressive non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. A cohort of 36 women with aggressive non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in first remission, who were treated in five university-affiliated hospitals in Israel, was evaluated. All women were aged younger than 40 years at diagnosis and received frontline protocols, including cyclophosphamide and adriamycin, mostly CHOP. Menstrual cycle characteristics, as well as pregnancies before the diagnosis, during treatment and in first complete remission, were evaluated. The patients' mean age at the diagnosis was 28 ± 7 years (range 17-40 years). All patients were treated with chemotherapy, although 10 patients received additional radiotherapy. Follow-up time at first complete remission was 84 ± 48 months. Before diagnosis, all patients had menstrual cycles, which were regular in 31 (86%). Three patients received gonadtropin-releasing homone analogs, whereas nine received contraceptive pills together with cytotoxic treatment. During treatment, 18 patients (50%) had amenorrhea, six (17%) had irregular menstrual cycles, and 12 (33%) continued their regular cycles. All but two women resumed menses in the first complete remission, and these were regular in 22 (61%) patients. In 63% of patients, the menstrual cycle recovered within 3 months of the discontinuation of chemotherapy. Eighteen patients (50%) became pregnant during the first complete remission. There was no significant difference between those patients who received fertility-preserving measures versus the remainder concerning regular menstrual cycles recovery or pregnancies. The two patients who developed amenorrhea were 40 years old at the time of diagnosis. In conclusion, the rate of gonadal dysfunction is very low among young, CHOP treated, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma female patients. Fertility-preserving techniques are not needed for women aged younger than 40 years and should probably be reserved for those who are at high risk for gonadal toxicity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)623-627
Number of pages5
JournalLeukemia and Lymphoma
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Amenorrhea
  • Fertility
  • Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
  • Women


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