Gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogues added to adjuvant chemotherapy protect ovarian function and improve clinical outcomes in young women with early breast carcinoma




The objective of the current study was a retrospective evaluation of 100 consecutive premenopausal women with high-risk, early breast carcinoma who received a gonadotropin-releasing hormone (Gn-RH) analogue as ovarian protection during adjuvant chemotherapy.


After surgery, patients received a Gn-RH analogue and adjuvant chemotherapy, which was tailored to their peculiar biologic features. The median patient age was 43 years (range, 27–50 yrs). Fifty-two women had positive estrogen receptor (ER) status, and 48 women had negative ER status. There were 64 women with Stage II breast carcinoma and 36 women with UICC Stage III breast carcinoma. All patients had their serum estradiol suppressed to values < 40 pg/mL. The chemotherapy regimens administered included cyclophosphamide, methotrexate, and 5-fluorouracil (n = 26 patients) and anthracycline-based regimens (n = 74 patients, including 9 patients who had > 10 positive axillary lymph nodes, who also received high-dose chemotherapy with autologous peripheral blood progenitor cell transplantation). Patients with positive c-erb-2 status also received a taxane. Eighty patients received radiation therapy. During therapy with the Gn-RH analogue, patients who had a positive ER status after chemotherapy received an aromatase inhibitor.


After a median follow-up of 75 months, normal menses were resumed by all patients younger than age 40 years and by 56% of patients older than age 40 years. Three pregnancies were observed that resulted in two normal deliveries and one voluntary abortion. The projected recurrence-free survival rates at 5 years and 10 years were 84% and 76%, respectively; and the projected overall survival rates at 5 years and 10 years were 96% and 91%, respectively.


The current data showed that, in premenopausal women with early breast carcinoma, the addition of a Gn-RH analogue to adjuvant therapy and temporary total estrogen suppression in patients with ER-positive disease was tolerated well, protected long-term ovarian function, and appeared to improve the expected clinical outcome. Cancer 2006. © 2005 American Cancer Society.