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Research Think Tank Fertility

The Research Think Tank (RTT) Fertility Work Group focused on unanswered questions relating to a young woman maintaining her fertility throughout breast cancer treatment. It also addressed the use and safety of fertility preservation.

The group was composed of advocates:

  • Anna Cluxton (chair)
  • Linda Dias
  • Penina Seidman
  • Kristin Smith

As well as physicians/researchers:

  • Dr. Francesca Duncan
  • Dr. Jacqueline Gutmann
  • Dr. Kutluk Oktay
  • Dr. Malcolm Pike
  • Dr. Irene Su

Research Priorities

Two of the 19 research priorities recommended by the RTT focused on fertility. Below, we list the priority, indicate any progress made since the RTT and list any open trials of which we are aware related to or focusing on these research priorities.

What are fertility options for young women diagnosed with breast cancer? How likely are they to result in healthy children? What is their impact on long-term outcomes in younger breast cancer patients?

Progress made: Work In Progress

Recent research updates:

Use of assisted reproductive technology in breast cancer survivors does not appear to increase risk of recurrence/relapse; however, a larger confirmatory study is needed. Read More

Current research initiatives/studies:

POSITIVE Trial will capture data pregnancy rates and outcomes on ER+ breast cancer, including the use of assisted reproductive technology.

RCT of Fixed vs. Titrated Letrozole in Breast Cancer Patients undergoing In Vitro Fertilization to determine efficacy of blocking estrogen production during ovarian stimulation.

Which breast cancer treatments cause infertility? How do additional risk factors such as age and ovarian reserve modify risks of infertility from cancer treatment? Can drugs be developed that lessen the impact on fertility?

Progress made: Ongoing

Recent research updates:

Use of ovarian suppression during chemotherapy appears to protect against ovarian failure. Read More

Ovarian suppression during chemotherapy appears to increase pregnancy rate of breast cancer survivors. Read More

Current research initiatives/studies:

Longitudinal Sexual and Reproductive Health Study of Women With Breast Cancer and Lymphoma to examine how cancer treatment affects the ovaries and ability to have children.

Predictors of Ovarian Insufficiency in Young Breast Cancer Patients (POISE) is ongoing, but closed to recruitment. This study will identify pre-chemotherapy markers that can predict ovarian failure and characterize ovarian failure after chemotherapy.

Learn More

If you believe we are missing a crucial piece of research or have not included a research study which should be here, please contact us!

Read about the work of the RTT Pregnancy Work Group.

Read our Research Agenda and white paper on the RTT process.

Resource Links