Predicting the age at menopause of women having suffered from childhood cancers

This study provided important data about the fertility window of women who had suffered from childhood cancer and information concerning the associated risk factors, but did not confirm the greater risk of premature menopause (before the age of 40) that was reported by the American studies.

The results were published in the review of November 15.

Women who have suffered from childhood cancer are known to run a greater risk of . However, data about the associated is limited. Researchers from unit 1018 "Centre for Research in Epidemiology and (CESP)" (/Université Paris-Sud/Institut Gustave Roussy) and from the AP-HP analyzed the data from a French cohort, named Euro2k, concerning 1522 survivors of childhood cancer diagnosed between 1945 and 1986 when they were under 18, initially in order to study the mortality rate. The study estimated the received at the by the women in this cohort who had been treated by radiotherapy. 706 of these women filled in a detailed questionnaire about their state of health. 32% of these women had already reached the age of 40 years; 7% were over 50 years of age. The research team studied the age at menopause of these women and the potentially associated risk factors. The researchers based this study on self-reported questionnaires sent to the women in order to obtain information about the menopause, without confirming by measuring FSH levels.

Analysis of this data showed that 97 women (13,7%) were menopaused at a of 44 years, in other words, 7 years earlier than the general population. For a third of these women (36%), menopause was surgically induced.

The researchers concentrated on the risk factors of menopause in these women, who had been subjected to various cancer treatments during childhood. It appeared that being treated during puberty was associated with a risk of non-surgical menopause. At a given age, the maximum risk of early menopause was observed in women who had been treated after the onset of puberty with alkylating agents (either alone or along with even a minimum dose of radiation to the ovaries, for example 0.01 Gray). Menopause occurred on average 4 years earlier in women who had been exposed to these agents. Having undergone unilateral oophorectomy is also associated with a 7-year earlier age at menopause.

The results showed that women who had suffered from a childhood cancer were more likely to suffer from early menopause, but did not conform the high risk of premature menopause (in other words, before 40 years of age), such as was reported in the American studies. This is probably due to the difference between the populations studied (there were no cases of leukemia or lymphoma in the Euro2k cohort population).

"In this cohort , very few women had received high doses of radiotherapy in order to receive bone marrow transplants, and only 21% of them (i.e. twice the occurrence of the general population) suffered premature menopause before the age of 40″, explained Cécile Teinturier, the principal writer of the study. The main risk factors associated to these cases of premature menopause are: the older the women is when being treated for cancer, the dose of alkyating agents such as Cyclophosphamide or Melphalan received during bone marrow transplants, and the radiation dose received at the ovaries.

"This study provided information about the risk factors affecting the fertility window of women who have suffered from . This new data should help both to inform patients who are at risk of premature menopause, by advising them not to delay their first pregnancy until after the age of thirty, and to reassure women who present a low risk" concluded Cécile Teinturier.

It is planned to extend Cohort Euro2k to cover all patients treated for solid cancers who were under 18 years of age before the year 2000 inFrance. The aim is to study the impact of high-dose chemotherapy on the occurrence of premature .

More information: humrep.oxfordjournals.org/cont… mrep.des391.abstract

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Dangers of early menopause highlighted

Sep 11, 2007

University of Adelaide research into the problems caused by the early onset of menopause will be among the highlights of the 11th Australasian Menopause Society (AMS) Congress, being held in Adelaide this weekend.

Smoking linked to early menopause in women

Oct 18, 2011

(Medical Xpress) -- A new study published in the journal Menopause adds one more reason for women to avoid or give up the smoking habit. The study results show that women who light up are more likely to sta ...

Study ties early menopause to heart attack, stroke

Sep 28, 2012

Women who experience early menopause are more likely to have a heart attack or stroke than women whose menopause occurs at a later age, according to a new study by Melissa Wellons, M.D., assistant professor of Medicine in ...

Weight gain increases breast cancer risk

Jul 13, 2006

Women who gain weight as young adults have a greater risk of developing breast cancer after menopause than women who maintain or lose weight, a study says.

Recommended for you

Blood biomarker may detect lung cancer

4 hours ago

A new study shows that patients with stage I to stage III non-small cell lung cancer have different metabolite profiles in their blood than those of patients who are at risk but do not have lung cancer. The study abstract ...

ACG: Recent increase in incidence of young-onset CRC

21 hours ago

(HealthDay)—The incidence of young-onset colorectal cancer (CRC) is increasing, and the disease is more aggressive pathologically. These findings are being presented at the annual meeting of the American ...

User comments