Post-Chemo Child Rearing May Be More Possible With New Drug, Study Reports

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By Silvana Peters | June 4, 2014 2:26 PM EST

One of chemotherapy's major side effects includes infertility in both men and women of child-bearing age. This is trying and very difficult for individuals who want to be able to have children after undergoing treatment. Good news is that a new breast cancer drug may be able to prevent women from becoming infertile due to cancer treatment.

The drug, goserelin, suppresses the ovaries from premature ovarian failure during cancer treatment and seen preserve future fertility. It shuts the ovaries down protecting them from premature menopause caused by the chemotherapy.

The study was presented at the annual meeting of American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in Chicago and involved 257 women, all under the age of 50 with breast cancer whose growth was not fueled by estrogen, writes Voice of America. Findings of the study show that those who received AstraZeneca PLC's drug goserelin along with chemotherapy were 64 percent less likely to develop premature menopause than women who had chemotherapy alone and go on to have successful pregnancies.

These findings were described as "really exciting" by the study's leader, Dr. Halle Moore of the Cleveland Clinic. Fox News quotes her as describing the drug as a ""temporary menopause to prevent permanent menopause."

This may very well become a viable option that can help countless women return to their normal lives after surviving cancer. It will also encourage patients to consider more treatment options without worrying about their ability to have children in the future.

Goserelin was given monthly through a shot to half of the women. The drug lowers the body's estrogen levels effectively but temporarily resting the ovaries with side effects that include common menopause symptoms like hot flashes and vaginal dryness, notes the AP.

Eight percent of the goserelin patients become menopausal afterwards, much lower than the 22 percent who were not given the drug and 22 became pregnant compared to 12 without the drug, reports the Guardian.

"This has implications far beyond breast cancer," citing it may be an option for younger women with other types of tumors and cancers, quoted Fox News of Dr. Clifford Hudis, breast cancer chief at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.

However, the study has only included women with hormone-receptor-negative cancer. While it is unclear how goserelin protects the ovaries, it maybe because it renders them less active during chemo and preserves them when the therapy is over.

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