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ABSTRACT: Women undergoing stem cell transplantation (SCT) are mostly young and have more than 90% probability of ovarian failure, which is often permanent. A woman's age, use of radiotherapy and alkylating chemotherapy, and the allogeneic type of transplant are associated with a higher rate of premature ovarian failure and worse residual ovarian function. Premature ovarian failure has serious systemic and psychological effects that may need treatment and should be managed by practitioners trained to treat this particular population of women. Ultrasonographic evidence of ovarian follicles is often associated with a future resumption of cycles, but there are no serum markers to predict the return of ovarian function in these patients. In our center, the rate of ovarian function recovery was 7% after allogeneic SCT and 25% after autologous SCT (P<0.05). There are no guidelines on how to manage premature ovarian failure induced by myeloablative treatments followed by SCT. Because of the likelihood of the need for long-lasting estrogen plus progestin therapy (EPT) and the increased risk of secondary neoplasia after SCT, the EPT should be as physiological as possible. In our experience, the cyclical sequential combination of estradiol (2 mg daily) plus dydrogesterone (10 mg for 14 d/mo) was associated with excellent compliance because of its simple administration and few adverse effects. Such a treatment led to a dramatic improvement in vasomotor, urogenital, and psychological symptoms related to estrogen deficiency. However, in the allogeneic transplantation setting, up to 25% of women may suffer from gynecological chronic graft-versus-host disease, which may become apparent as hematocolpometra after introduction of EPT. Thus, accurate pretreatment evaluation and frequent monitoring during treatment are required. Moreover, EPT absorption may be reduced in patients who received allotransplants and have gastrointestinal or skin chronic graft-versus-host disease.
Menopause 02/2007; 14(2):320-30. · 3.16 Impact Factor