[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND
At present, it is unclear which treatment strategy is best for couples with unexplained or mild male subfertility. We hypothesized that the prognostic profile influences the effectiveness of assisted conception. We addressed this issue by analysing individual patient data (IPD) from randomized controlled trials (RCTs).METHODS
We performed an IPD analysis of published RCTs on treatment strategies for subfertile couples. Eligible studies were identified from Cochrane systematic reviews and we also searched Medline and EMBASE. The authors of RCTs that compared expectant management (EM), intracervical insemination (ICI), intrauterine insemination (IUI), all three with or without controlled ovarian stimulation (COS) and IVF in couples with unexplained or male subfertility, and had reported live birth or ongoing pregnancy as an outcome measure, were invited to share their data. For each individual patient the chance of natural conception was calculated with a validated prognostic model. We constructed prognosis-by-treatment curves and tested whether there was a significant interaction between treatment and prognosis.RESULTSWe acquired data from 8 RCTs, including 2550 couples. In three studies (n = 954) the more invasive treatment strategies tended to be less effective in couples with a high chance of natural conception but this difference did not reach statistical significance (P-value for interaction between prognosis and treatment outcome were 0.71, 0.31 and 0.19). In one study (n = 932 couples) the strategies with COS (ICI and IUI) led to higher pregnancy rates than unstimulated strategies (ICI 8% versus 15%, IUI 13% versus 22%), regardless of prognosis (P-value for interaction in all comparisons >0.5), but at the expense of a high twin rate in the COS strategies (ICI 6% versus 23% and IUI 3% versus 30%, respectively). In two studies (n = 373 couples), the more invasive treatment strategies tended to be more effective in couples with a good prognosis but this difference did not reach statistical significance (P-value for interaction: 0.38 and 0.68). In one study (n = 253 couples) the differential effect of prognosis on treatment effect was limited (P-value for interaction 0.52), perhaps because prognosis was incorporated in the inclusion criteria. The only study that compared EM with IVF included 38 couples, too small for a precise estimate.CONCLUSIONS
In this IPD analysis of couples with unexplained or male subfertility, we did not find a large differential effect of prognosis on the effectiveness of fertility treatment with IUI, COS or IVF.
Human Reproduction Update 10/2013; · 9.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Clomiphene citrate (CC) is first line treatment in women with World Health Organization (WHO) type II anovulation and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Whereas 60% to 85% of these women will ovulate on CC, only about one half will have conceived after six cycles. If women do not conceive, treatment can be continued with gonadotropins or intra-uterine insemination (IUI). At present, it is unclear for how many cycles ovulation induction with CC should be repeated, and when to switch to ovulation induction with gonadotropins and/or IUI.Methods/design: We started a multicenter randomised controlled trial in the Netherlands comparing six cycles of CC plus intercourse or six cycles of gonadotrophins plus intercourse or six cycles of CC plus IUI or six cycles of gonadotrophins plus IUI.Women with WHO type II anovulation who ovulate but did not conceive after six ovulatory cycles of CC with a maximum of 150 mg daily for five days will be included.Our primary outcome is birth of a healthy child resulting from a pregnancy that was established in the first eight months after randomisation. Secondary outcomes are clinical pregnancy, miscarriage, multiple pregnancy and treatment costs. The analysis will be performed according to the intention to treat principle. Two comparisons will be made, one in which CC is compared to gonadotrophins and one in which the addition of IUI is compared to ovulation induction only. Assuming a live birth rate of 40% after CC, 55% after addition of IUI and 55% after ovulation induction with gonadotrophins, with an alpha of 5% and a power of 80%, we need to recruit 200 women per arm (800 women in total).An independent Data and Safety Monitoring Committee has criticized the data of the first 150 women and concluded that a sample size re-estimation should be performed after including 320 patients (i.e. 80 per arm).
The trial will provide evidence on the most effective, safest and most cost effective treatment in women with WHO type II anovulation who do not conceive after six ovulatory cycles with CC with a maximum of 150 mg daily for five days. This evidence could imply the need for changing our guidelines, which may cause a shift in large practice variation to evidence based primary treatment for these women.Trial registration number: Netherlands Trial register NTR1449.
BMC Women s Health 10/2013; 13(1):42. · 1.51 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hormonal causes of female infertility involve ovulatory dysfunctions that may result from dysfunction of the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis, peripheral endocrine glands, nonendocrine organs, or metabolic disorders. It is important to think of anovulation not as a diagnosis but as a symptom of a metabolic or endocrine disorder that requires a thorough diagnostic evaluation to identify the specific cause and to implement effective therapies that assure the best possible pregnancy outcome and avoid long-term adverse health consequences. In most instances, the medical history points to the underlying dysfunction, which can usually be confirmed with laboratory or imaging tests. For more challenging cases, more extensive evaluations may be needed, including perturbation studies. Nevertheless, the management of anovulatory infertility is gratifying because its causes are often manifest and the treatment usually results in resumption of ovulatory cycles, restoration of fertility, and healthy offspring through natural conception without requiring expensive and intrusive assisted reproductive technologies.
International journal of gynaecology and obstetrics: the official organ of the International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics 09/2013; · 1.41 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: STUDY QUESTION: Is routine screening by oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) needed for all women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)? SUMMARY ANSWER: Screening for glucose metabolism abnormalities of PCOS patients by an OGTT could potentially be limited to patients who present with a fasting glucose concentration between 6.1 and 7.0 mmol/l only. WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY: Women with PCOS are at increased risk of developing diabetes. This study proposes a stepwise screening strategy for (pre)diabetes for PCOS patients based on risk stratification by fasting plasma glucose. STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION: A cross-sectional study of 226 women diagnosed with anovulatory PCOS. PARTICIPANTS AND SETTING: A consecutive series of 226 patients, diagnosed with PCOS at the University Medical Centre Utrecht, the Netherlands, were screened for glucose metabolism abnormalities by OGTT (75 g glucose load). MAIN RESULTS AND ROLE OF CHANCE: The majority of the 226 women (mean age: 29.6 ± 4.3 years; BMI: 27.3 ± 6.7 kg/m(2); 81% Caucasian) presented with a normal OGTT (169 women (75%)). Of the 57 (25%) women presenting with mild to moderate glucose abnormalities, 53 (93%) could be identified by fasting glucose concentrations only. Diabetes was diagnosed in a total of eight women (3.5%). In six women, the diagnosis was based on fasting glucose >7.0 mmol/l. The other two cases of diabetes initially presented with fasting glucose between 6.1 and 7.0 mmol/l and were diagnosed by OGTT assessment. No women diagnosed with diabetes presented with fasting glucose levels below 6.1 mmol/l. We therefore conclude that all diabetes patients could potentially be found by initial fasting glucose assessment followed by OGTT only in patients with fasting glucose between 6.1 and 7.0 mmol/l. LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION: Before general implementation can be advised, this screening algorithm should be validated in a prospective study of a similar or greater number of PCOS women. WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS: Our study comprised of a mostly Caucasian (81%) population, therefore generalization to other ethnic populations should be done with caution. STUDY FUNDING/COMPETING INTEREST(S): No external finance was involved in this study. B.C.J.M.F. has received fees and grant support from the following companies (in alphabetic order); Andromed, Ardana, Ferring, Genovum, Merck Serono, MSD, Organon, Pantharei Bioscience, PregLem, Schering, Schering Plough, Serono and Wyeth. A.J.G. has received fees from Abbott, Bayer Schering and IBSA. T.W.H. has received fees from Merck, Sharpe & Dohme, GlaxoSmithKline, NovoNordisk and Eli Lilly. The authors declare complete independence from funders. CLINICAL TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: NCT00821379.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The current evidence concerning the best treatment option for couples with unexplained and male subfertility is inconclusive. Most studies that have evaluated the effectiveness of treatment options, such as expectant management (EM), intrauterine insemination (IUI), with or without controlled ovarian stimulation (COS), and in vitro fertilisation (IVF), have not taken the couples' prognosis into account. It is very likely that the individual prognosis of the couple influences the effect of treatment. Individual patient data analyses allow us to take these prognostic factors into account, and to evaluate their effect on treatment outcome. This study aims to use anonymised data from relevant published trials to perform an individual patient data meta-analysis, evaluating the effect of couples' prognosis on the effectiveness of EM, IUI, with or without COS, and IVF.
Based on earlier systematic reviews and an updated search, randomised controlled trials will be considered for inclusion. Untreated subfertile couples with unexplained or male subfertility included in trials comparing EM, IUI, with or without COS, and IVF are included. Authors of the included studies will be invited to share their original anonymised data. The data will be assessed on validity, quality and completeness. The prognosis of the individual couple will be calculated with existing prognostic models. The effect of the prognosis on treatment outcome will be analysed with marker-by-treatment predictiveness curves, illustrating the effect of prognosis on treatment outcome. This study is registered in PROSPERO (registration number CRD42011001832).
Ultimately, this study may help to select the appropriate fertility treatment, tailored to the needs of an individual couple.
BJOG An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology 05/2012; 119(8):953-7. · 3.76 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The measurement of serum testosterone in women is challenging due to lack of trueness, precision, and sensitivity of various available testosterone assays. Accurate assessment of testosterone in women is crucial especially in conditions associated with alleged over- or under-production of testosterone, such as in polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or primary ovarian insufficiency (POI). The aim of this study was to measure and compare androgen concentrations in women with PCOS, POI, and female controls and to evaluate the performance of extraction RIA and liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) in these women.
Carefully phenotyped women with POI (n=208) or PCOS (n=200) and 45 healthy, regularly cyclic female controls were included. Method comparison analyses were performed for total testosterone, androstenedione (AD), and DHEA, as measured by LC-MS/MS and extraction RIA.
All androgen levels were significantly elevated in women with PCOS compared with POI patients (P<0.05) and controls (P<0.05). Women with POI presented with similar androgen concentrations as controls, except for AD. Compared with measurements by extraction RIA, testosterone, DHEA, and AD concentrations measured by LC-MS/MS were systematically lower. However, using extraction RIA and LC-MS/MS, testosterone, DHEA, and AD measurements were shown to have good agreement as assessed by Bland-Altman analysis and intraclass correlation coefficient: 0.95 (95% confidence interval 0.94-0.91), 0.83 (0.79-0.86), and 0.96 (0.95-0.97) respectively.
LC-MS/MS, compared with a labor-intensive extraction RIA, shows good precision, sensitivity, and high accuracy for measuring female testosterone, DHEA, and AD concentrations under various clinical conditions. LC-MS/MS, therefore, represents a convenient and reliable assay for both clinical and research purposes, where androgen measurement in women is required.
European Journal of Endocrinology 12/2011; 165(6):925-33. · 3.14 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To evaluate the significance of NR5A1 mutations in a large, well-phenotyped cohort of women with primary ovarian insufficiency (POI). Mutations in the NR5A1 gene (SF-1) were previously described in disorders of sexual development and adrenal insufficiency. Recently, a high frequency of NR5A1 gene mutations was reported in a small group of women with POI.
Cross-sectional cohort study.
Well-phenotyped women (n = 386) with secondary amenorrhea and diagnosed with POI, including women with familial POI (n = 77).
The entire coding region and splice sites of the NR5A1 gene were PCR-amplified and sequenced. The pathogenicity of identified mutations was predicted in silico by assessing Align-GVGD class and Grantham score.
Sequencing was successful in 356 patients with POI. In total, 9 mutations were identified in 10 patients. Five of these mutations concerned novel nonconservative mutations occurring in 5 patients. Prediction of effect on protein function showed low to intermediate pathogenicity for all nonconservative mutations. The overall NR5A1 gene mutation rate was 1.4%.
The current study demonstrates that mutations in the NR5A1 gene are rare in women with POI. Primary ovarian insufficiency remains unexplained in the great majority of patients; therefore, continued efforts are needed to elucidate its underlying genetic factors.
Fertility and sterility 11/2011; 97(1):141-6.e2. · 3.97 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The role of sex steroid hormones in reproductive function in women is well established. However, in the last two decades it has been shown that receptors for estrogens, progesterone and androgens are expressed in non reproductive tissue /organs (bone, brain, cardiovascular system) playing a role in their function. Therefore, it is critical to evaluate the impact of sex steroid hormones in the pathophysiology of some diseases (osteoporosis, Alzheimer, atherosclerosis). In particular, women with primary ovarian insufficiency, polycystic ovary syndrome, endometriosis and climacteric syndrome may have more health problems and therefore an hormonal treatment may be crucial for these women.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Primary prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in women is a major healthcare issue. Detection of premenopausal women with increased risk of CVD could enhance prevention strategies and reduce first event-related morbidity and mortality. In this study, we argue that an unfavorable metabolic constitution in women may present itself early in life as a reproductive complication, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and preeclampsia. We evaluated the cardiovascular risk of women with a history of early-onset preeclampsia and women with PCOS and assessed their need for implementation of early risk factor-reduction strategies.
We performed a standardized evaluation of 240 women with a history of early-onset preeclampsia and 456 women diagnosed with PCOS for established major CVD risk factors. Metabolic syndrome characteristics were analyzed per body mass index category.
Mean age was 30.6 and 29.0 years for women with preeclampsia and PCOS, respectively. High percentages of metabolic syndrome were found in both groups (preeclampsia group, 14.6%; and PCOS group, 18.4%), with an incidence of greater than 50% in both groups of women if body mass index was greater than 30 kg/m. Overall, more than 90% of the women qualified for either lifestyle or medical intervention according to the American Heart Association guideline for CVD prevention in women.
Women with PCOS and early-onset preeclampsia already show an unfavorable cardiovascular risk profile with high need for lifestyle or medical intervention at a young age. We therefore recommend an active role of the gynecologist in routine screening and follow-up of women with reproductive conditions linked to future cardiovascular risk.
Menopause (New York, N.Y.) 08/2010; 17(5):990-6. · 3.08 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Premature ovarian failure (POF) is characterized by secondary amenorrhea before the age of 40 years, along with repeated increased follicle-stimulating hormone and low estrogen concentrations. POF is considered a complex genetic disease with a familial presentation in 12% to 50% of cases. POF may originate from different genes and various gene-environment interactions. The aim of this study was to identify possible differences in phenotype comparing women with familial and women with sporadic POF.
A multicenter study was initiated in the Netherlands using standardized phenotyping. For each woman, medical history, menstrual cycle, and fertility and smoking status were assessed and a standardized examination was performed. Based on a detailed three-generation family history, women were identified as having either familial (defined as having at least one relative with POF) or sporadic POF.
A total of 58 familial cases and 142 sporadic cases of POF were identified. Maternal age at menopause was significantly lower in the women with familial compared with the women with sporadic POF (41.0 +/- 7.5 and 49.7 +/- 2.6 y, respectively; P < 0.001). Sex hormone-binding globulin concentration was significantly higher in the women with familial than in the women with sporadic POF (73.6 +/- 37.1 and 55.2 +/- 26.9 nmol/L, respectively; P = 0.002). All other characteristics, such as parity, bone mineral density, and serum follicle-stimulating hormone and lipid levels were similar, as was the incidence of autoimmunity and cytogenetic abnormalities.
Familial and sporadic POF do not differ in phenotype except for maternal menopause age and sex hormone-binding globulin concentration. Future studies are needed to unravel the genotype-phenotype interactions in POF.
Menopause (New York, N.Y.) 07/2010; 17(4):758-65. · 3.08 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Spontaneous premature ovarian failure (POF) occurs in 1% of women and has major implications for their fertility and health. Besides X chromosomal aberrations and fragile X premutations, no common genetic risk factor has so far been discovered in POF. Using high-density single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) arrays, we set out to identify new genetic variants involved in this condition.
A genome-wide association study involving 309 158 SNPs was performed in 99 unrelated idiopathic Caucasian POF patients and 235 unrelated Caucasian female controls. A replication study on the most significant finding was performed. We specifically focused on chromosomal areas and candidate genes previously implicated in POF.
Suggestive genome-wide significant association was observed for rs246246 (allele frequency P = 6.0 x 10(-7)) which mapped to an intron of ADAMTS19, a gene known to be up-regulated in the female mouse gonads during sexual differentiation. However, replication in an independent Dutch cohort (60 POF patients and 90 controls) could not confirm a clear association (P = 4.1 x 10(-5) in a joint analysis). We did not observe strong evidence for any of 74 selected POF candidate genes or linkage regions being associated with idiopathic POF in Caucasian females, although suggestive association (P < 0.005) was observed for SNPs that mapped in BDNF, CXCL12, LHR, USP9X and TAF4B.
We observed a possible association between POF and a SNP in a biologically plausible candidate gene. Although limited by sample size, this proof-of-principle study's findings reveal ADAMTS19 as a possible candidate gene for POF and thus a larger follow-up study is warranted.
Human Reproduction 06/2009; 24(9):2372-8. · 4.67 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ovarian dysfunction is classically categorized on the basis of cycle history, FSH, and estradiol levels. Novel ovarian markers may provide a more direct insight into follicular quantity in hypergonadotropic women.
The objective of the study was to investigate the distribution of novel ovarian markers in young hypergonadotropic women as compared with normogonadotropic regularly menstruating women.
This was a nationwide prospective cohort study.
The study was conducted at 10 hospitals in The Netherlands.
Women below age 40 yr with regular menses and normal FSH (controls; n = 83), regular menstrual cycles and elevated FSH [incipient ovarian failure (IOF); n = 68]; oligomenorrhea and elevated FSH [referred to as transitional ovarian failure (TOF); n = 79]; or at least 4 months amenorrhea together with FSH levels exceeding 40 IU/liter [premature ovarian failure (POF); n = 112]. MAIN OUTCOME Measures: Serum levels of anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH), inhibin B, and antral follicle count (AFC) was measured.
All POF patients showed AMH levels below the fifth percentile (p(5)) of normoovulatory women. Normal AMH levels (>p(5)) could be identified in 75% of IOF, 33% of TOF patients, and 98% of controls. AFC and AMH levels changed with increasing age (P < 0.0001), whereas inhibin B did not (P = 0.26). AMH levels were significantly different between TOF and IOF over the entire age range, whereas AFC became similar for TOF and IOF at higher ages.
Compared with inhibin B and AFC, AMH was more consistently correlated with the clinical degree of follicle pool depletion in young women presenting with elevated FSH levels. AMH may provide a more accurate assessment of the follicle pool in young hypergonadotropic patients, especially in the clinically challenging subgroups of patients with elevated FSH and regular menses (i.e. IOF) and in hypergonadotropic women with cycle disturbances not fulfilling the POF diagnostic criteria (i.e. TOF).
The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism 01/2009; 94(3):786-92. · 6.50 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Earlier menopause is associated with a higher incidence of cardiovascular events later in life. Concurrent with the ages of menopausal transition, a shift in lipid profile takes place. Premature ovarian failure (POF) or premature menopause allows us to study the effect of cessation of ovarian function on the lipid profile independent of effects of advanced chronological age.
Fasting triglycerides (TGs), total high-density lipoprotein (HDL), and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels were measured in 90 women with POF not using any hormone therapy and 198 population controls of the same age range not using oral contraceptives. Correlations between lipids and ovarian function parameters were assessed.
: After correction for age, body mass index, and smoking, women with POF presented with significantly higher TG levels (mean difference: 0.17 log mmol/L [95% CI: 0.06-0.29]). HDL cholesterol levels were borderline significantly lower in women with POF. No age-corrected correlation between triglycerides or other lipids and estradiol levels or time of estrogen deprivation could be identified. However, the free androgen index, sex hormone-binding globulin, and testosterone concentrations showed significant correlations with TGs and/or HDL cholesterol concentrations.
Loss of ovarian function at a very young age (POF) coincides with subtle changes in the lipid profile (higher TG levels and marginally lower HDL). Androgens (increased free androgen index and testosterone and decreased sex hormone-binding globulin) are better markers for unfavorable lipid changes compared with estrogen levels or duration of estrogen deprivation in women with POF. Elevated TG levels in combination with increased (free) androgens may be an early manifestation of reduced insulin sensitivity.
Menopause (New York, N.Y.) 07/2008; 15(5):919-23. · 3.08 Impact Factor