(HealthDay News) — For cancer survivors, ovarian tissue transplants are safe and effective and pose little risk of cancer recurrence, according to a report published online October 6 in Human Reproduction.
Annette Jensen, MD, from the Laboratory of Reproductive Biology at Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen, and colleagues reviewed the outcomes of 53 transplantations of thawed ovarian tissue in 41 Danish women. The investigators followed the women for 10 years, looking at ovarian function, fertility, and safety. The women’s average age when the tissue was removed and frozen was nearly 30. Average age of the first transplant was 33.
Thirty-two of the women attempted pregnancy. Ten were successful and had at least one child – 14 children in all. Eight children were conceived naturally, and six with the help of in vitro fertilization, the researchers reported. For three of the mothers, more than 10 years had passed since the ovarian tissue transplantation. In six cases, it was more than eight years. And for 15 of the women, transplantation had taken place more than five years earlier, the researchers said.
Although three women had a relapse of their cancer, these relapses did not appear related to the tissue transplantation. And no cancer developed in the transplanted tissue, Jensen told HealthDay. “So some of these women will still be able to have more children and avoid menopausal symptoms,” she said, noting two more pregnancies have been reported to her laboratory since the study’s publication. Not all women are eligible for ovarian tissue transplants, however. “In particular, we have not performed transplants in patients who have suffered from leukemia, because the ovarian tissue may harbor cancer cells,” Jensen said.