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Technique to preserve fertility in young women may be unsafe for patients with leukemia
Date:8/13/2010

(WASHINGTON, August 13, 2010) Although the use of ovarian tissue cryopreservation and transplantation has lead to 13 live births in women with lymphoma or solid tumors, this method of fertility preservation may be unsafe for patients with leukemia, according to a recent study published online in Blood, the journal of the American Society of Hematology. The method involves removing and freezing ovarian tissue before the patient undergoes aggressive chemotherapy and radiotherapy, and then reimplanting the tissue once the cancer has been brought under control. One major concern with leukemia patients is the risk that their frozen-thawed ovarian tissue might harbor malignant cells that could induce a recurrence of the disease after reimplantation.

"Our study provides clear evidence that cancer cells in women with acute and chronic leukemias can contaminate the ovaries," said Marie-Madeleine Dolmans, MD, professor at the Universit Catholique de Louvain in Brussels and lead author of the study. "If this tissue is reimplanted in these women when they're ready to have children, there's a good possibility that the cancer will come back."

As most acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) patients are diagnosed with the disease at a young age, consideration of the preservation of their fertility is especially important. In fact, according to the National Cancer Institute, 71 percent of those diagnosed with ALL are less than 35 years old, as are nearly 10 percent of those with chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML)1. In 2010, it is estimated that 2,180 women will be diagnosed with ALL and 2,070 with CML1.

As aggressive chemotherapy and radiotherapy are damaging to the reproductive organs, the researchers wanted to examine the safety of using ovarian tissue cryopreservation to safeguard the fertility of patients with leukemia. In this study, researche
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Contact: Lindsey Love
webmaster@hematology.org
202-552-4925
American Society of Hematology
Source:Eurekalert

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