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Premature ovarian insufficiency in female adolescent and young adult survivors of non-gynecological cancers: a population-based cohort study


Background — The risk of premature ovarian insufficiency (POI) is increased in adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer survivors, with the prevalence depending on cancer diagnosis, treatment, and patient factors. Prior studies are limited by sample size and type of cancer included. The objective of this study was to assess the risk of POI in female AYA survivors of non-gynecologic cancers, using a population-based approach.

Methods — This population-based retrospective cohort study comprises 21,666 females, 15–39 years old, diagnosed with a single non-gynecologic cancer in Ontario, Canada from 1995 to 2015.

Through health administrative data linkage, participants were followed until their 40th birthday, December 31, 2018, bilateral oophorectomy, loss of health insurance eligibility or death. Each cancer survivor was matched to 5 females who were not diagnosed with cancer (unexposed, n = 108,330). Women with bilateral oophorectomy or a prior menopause diagnosis were excluded. POI was identified through use of the ICD-9 code for menopause (ICD9-627). Modified Poisson regression models were used to calculate the adjusted relative risk (aRR) of POI for AYA cancer survivors compared to unexposed individuals, adjusted for income, parity, age, and immigration status.

Results — The occurrence of POI was higher in survivors of AYA cancer versus unexposed patients (5.4% vs. 2.2%). Survivors of AYA cancer had an increased risk of POI relative to unexposed patients (aRR 2.49; 95% CI 2.32–2.67). Risk varied by type of cancer: breast (4.32; 3.84–4.86), non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (3.77; 2.88–4.94), Hodgkin’s lymphoma (2.37; 1.91–2.96), leukemia (14.64; 10.50–20.42), thyroid (1.26; 1.09–1.46) and melanoma (1.04; 0.82–1.32). Risk varied by age at time of cancer diagnosis, with a higher risk among females diagnosed at age 30–39 years (3.07; 2.80–3.35) than aged 15–29 years (1.75; 1.55–1.98).

Conclusions — AYA survivors of non-gynecologic cancers are at an increased risk of POI, particularly survivors of lymphomas, leukemia, breast, and thyroid cancer. The risk of POI is increased for those diagnosed with cancer at an older age. These results should inform reproductive counseling of female AYAs diagnosed with cancer.



Flatt SB, Baillargeon A, McClintock C, Pudwell J, Velez MP. Reprod Health. 2023; 20(1):4. Epub 2023 Jan 2.

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