Orthotopic reimplantation of cryopreserved ovarian cortical strips after high-dose chemotherapy for Hodgkin's lymphoma

Lancet. 2001 Apr 14;357(9263):1172-5. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(00)04335-x.


Background: Infertility is a common late effect of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, and has a substantial effect on the quality of life for young survivors of cancer. For men, semen cryopreservation is a simple way of preserving reproductive potential but for women, storage of mature eggs rarely proves successful, and the alternative-immediate in vitro fertilisation with cryopreservation of embryos-is not always appropriate. Reimplantation of cryopreserved ovarian tissue has been shown to restore natural fertility in animals. We applied this technique in a woman who had received sterilising chemotherapy for lymphoma.

Methods: A 36-year-old woman underwent a right oophorectomy with cryopreservation of ovarian cortical strips before receiving high-dose CBV chemotherapy for a third recurrence of Hodgkin's lymphoma. 19 months later, when serum sex steroid analysis confimed a postmenopausal state, two ovarian cortical strips were thawed and reimplanted-one onto the left ovary and another at the site of the right ovary.

Findings: 7 months after reimplantation of ovarian cortical strips, the patient reported resolution of hot flashes and, for the first time, oestradiol was detected in the serum. This finding was associated with a decrease in the concentrations of follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinising hormone, and ultrasonography revealed a 10 mm thick endometrium, a poorly visualised left ovary, and a 2 cm diameter follicular structure to the right of the midline. The patient had one menstrual period, but by 9 months after the implantation, her sex steroid concentrations had returned to those seen with ovarian failure.

Interpretation: Orthotopic reimplantation of frozen/thawed ovarian cortical strips is a well tolerated technique for restoring ovarian function in women treated with sterilising chemotherapy for cancer.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Bleomycin / administration & dosage
  • Cryopreservation*
  • Cyclophosphamide / administration & dosage
  • Doxorubicin / administration & dosage
  • Etoposide / administration & dosage
  • Female
  • Hodgkin Disease / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Female / chemically induced*
  • Infertility, Female / surgery*
  • Organ Preservation*
  • Ovariectomy
  • Ovary* / physiology
  • Ovary* / transplantation
  • Transplantation, Autologous
  • Vincristine / administration & dosage


  • Bleomycin
  • Vincristine
  • Etoposide
  • Doxorubicin
  • Cyclophosphamide

Supplementary concepts

  • VAPEC-B protocol