Ovarian failure is a common and distressing side effect of chemotherapy. The results of a major international trial, published in The
New England Journal of Medicine
(online, 5 March 2015), suggest that the gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist goserelin (Zoladex) can help protect against this side effect and improve prospects for fertility.
The prevention of early menopause study S0230 trial included 257 premenopausal women with operable hormone-receptor-negative breast cancer receiving standard chemotherapy, 135 of whom were included in the final analysis. The ovarian failure rate was 8% among women who took goserelin versus 22% among those who did not, giving an odds ratio of 0.30 (95% confidence interval 0.09-0.97).
Women who received goserelin were also significantly more likely to become pregnant and had better disease-free and overall survival than women who did not take the drug.