Toxicity of chemotherapy and radiation on female reproduction

Clin Obstet Gynecol. 2010 Dec;53(4):727-39. doi: 10.1097/GRF.0b013e3181f96b54.


One of the most devastating consequences of cancer treatment in the young female population is ovarian damage, resulting in diminished fertility potential. The extent of damage is related to age, chemotherapeutic regimen, and dose of pelvic radiation received. It is crucial that physicians know the impact each of these factors has on future fertility to advice patients on fertility preservation options. Anticancer drugs injure the female reproductive system through ovarian follicular and stromal damage. Although the exact mechanisms of damage remain unclear, it is essential to better understand these mechanisms to develop methods to diminish ovarian injury.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Apoptosis
  • Atrophy / etiology
  • Female
  • Fertility
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Female / etiology
  • Maternal Age
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Ovarian Follicle / pathology
  • Ovary / drug effects*
  • Ovary / pathology
  • Ovary / radiation effects*
  • Primary Ovarian Insufficiency / etiology
  • Radiotherapy / adverse effects*
  • Uterus / radiation effects


  • Antineoplastic Agents