Common Chemotherapy Drug Increases Egg Growth in the Ovaries

Combination cancer drug shows the potential to help with fertility in the future.

Women administered the commonly used chemotherapy combination, ABVD (adriamycin, bleomycin, vinblastine, and dacarbazine), saw an increase in immature eggs in the ovaries.

In a small study published in Human Reproduction, investigators analyzed ovary tissue samples from 14 women who had undergone chemotherapy, and from 12 healthy women.

The results of the study showed that 8 of the cancer patients treated with ABVD had a greater incidence of immature, or non-growing eggs, compared with the tissue obtained from women given a different chemotherapy drug, or from those who were healthy and of similar age.

Upon further examination, the investigators found that the ovary issue appeared to be in healthy condition, and had similarities to tissue from young women’s ovaries.

For future studies, the authors plan to examine the separate impact of each of the 4 drugs that make up ABVD to better understand the biological mechanisms.

The authors noted that it is too soon to link ABVD to fertility, and that more research needs to be done.

“This study involves only a few patients, but its findings were consistent and its outcome may be significant and far-reaching,” said lead investigator Evelyn Telfer. “We need to know more about how this drug combination acts on the ovaries, and the implications of this.”