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Keywords:

  • menorrhagia;
  • menses;
  • thrombocytopenia;
  • leuprolide;
  • tranexamic acid;
  • pharmacotherapy;
  • chemotherapy

Abnormal uterine bleeding in women with a blood dyscrasia, such as leukemia, or who experience thrombocytopenia secondary to myelosuppressive chemotherapy is a clinical condition associated with significant morbidity. Consequently, effective management is necessary to prevent adverse outcomes. Prevention of menorrhagia, defined as heavy regular menstrual cycles with more than 80 ml of blood loss/cycle or a cycle duration longer than 7 days, in this patient population is the goal of therapy. Gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogs (e.g., leuprolide) are promising therapies that have been shown to decrease vaginal bleeding during periods of thrombocytopenia and to have minimal adverse effects other than those associated with gonadal inhibition. In patients who experience menorrhagia despite preventive therapies, or in patients who have thrombocytopenia and menorrhagia at diagnosis, treatment is indicated. For these women, treatment options may include platelet transfusions, antifibrinolytic therapy (e.g., tranexamic acid), continuous high-dose oral contraceptives, cyclic progestins, or other therapies for more refractory patients such as danazol, desmopressin, and recombinant factor VIIa. Hormonal therapies are often the mainstay of therapy in women with menorrhagia secondary to thrombocytopenia, but data for these agents are sparse. The most robust data for the treatment of menorrhagia are for tranexamic acid. Most women receiving tranexamic acid in randomized trials experienced meaningful reductions in menstrual bleeding, and this translated into improved quality of life; however, these trials were not performed in patients with cancer. Further clinical trials are warranted to evaluate both preventive and therapeutic agents for menorrhagia in premenopausal women with cancer who are receiving myelosuppressive chemotherapy.