Fertility drugs and risk of ovarian cancer: dispelling the myth.

Journal Article (Journal Article;Review)

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Worldwide 50-80 million people suffer from infertility. Assisted reproductive technology has provided a way of overcoming infertility and childlessness. The current article will focus on data linking infertility and its treatment to ovarian cancer. RECENT FINDINGS: Ovarian cancer risks associated with fertility drug treatment are encouraging, but not decisive. In view of the limited ability to evaluate drug effects on borderline tumors, given their rare occurrence, studies involving patient reports of prior drug exposures have noted an elevated risk of borderline tumors associated with fertility drugs. Nevertheless, the risk of invasive ovarian cancer appears to be restricted to those women who remain childless despite the infertility treatment. SUMMARY: As long as doubt persists, it might be advisable to reflect on a few clinical recommendations: identify high-risk infertile patients for ovarian cancer, investigate preexisting cancer before fertility treatment, inform patients regarding potential risks, obtain an informed consent, avoid exposure to long periods of ovulation induction cycles that are given before patients are referred for in-vitro fertilization and embryo transfer for women at greater risk and monitor women who have been treated with these drugs, especially those who failed to conceive, regularly and thoroughly.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Zreik, TG; Ayoub, CM; Hannoun, A; Karam, CJ; Munkarah, AR

Published Date

  • June 2008

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 20 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 313 - 319

PubMed ID

  • 18460948

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1040-872X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1097/GCO.0b013e3282fdc6c3


  • eng

Conference Location

  • England