Cancer patients who have been successfully treated for their disease face the prospect of its return if stored ovarian (or testicular) tissue is transplanted back into their bodies without adequate checks, according to researchers at two university hospitals in Israel.
Writing in Europes leading reproductive medicine journal, Human Reproduction, today (Tuesday 22 April), the researchers say that hundreds of cancer patients worldwide have ovarian tissue and, in some cases, testicular tissue frozen in the hope of being able to have children after their cancer treatment has finished; but they warn that few fertility centres have the skills and use the technology needed to check the tissue for residual cancer cells, making it possible for the original cancer to re-infect the body when the tissue is re-implanted to restore the patients fertility. 
The interest in ovarian tissue storage as a real option for preserving fertility in cancer patients has increased. However, genuine concerns regarding the possible recrudescence [re-appearance] of the primary disease following re-implantation of stored ovarian tissue with malignant cells exist, write the authors.
The first author of the report, Dr Dror Meirow, said: We think its vitally important to raise awareness amongst cancer patients, fertility specialists, oncologists and haematologists. There are few fertility centres in the world with the expertise and the technology to run the types of tests on tissue that are needed to detect residual cancer.
However, not every reproductive service that has surgical skills and freezing facilities can be safely responsible for ovarian tissue cryopreservation. We suggest that these centres should store tissue for future investigation, and samples can be shipped to specialist centres for analysis.
Dr Meirow, who leads the fertility preservation programme in the IVF Unit at Chaim Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer (headed by Professor
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European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology