Decreased fertility among female childhood cancer survivors who received 22-27 Gy hypothalamic/pituitary irradiation: a report from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study

Fertil Steril. 2011 May;95(6):1922-7, 1927.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2011.02.002. Epub 2011 Mar 3.


Objective: To evaluate the effect of hypothalamic/pituitary radiation (HPT RT) dose on the occurrence of first pregnancy.

Design: Retrospective cohort study of childhood cancer 5-year survivors (CCS) diagnosed between 1970 and 1986 before 21 years of age at one of 26 North American pediatric cancer treatment centers.

Setting: Self-administered questionnaire.

Patient(s): A total of 3,619 female CCS who participated in the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study and received no or scatter (≤0.1 Gy) radiation to the ovaries and 2,081 female siblings (Sibs) of the participants.

Intervention(s): None.

Main outcome measure(s): Self-reported pregnancy events.

Result(s): As a group, CCS were as likely to report being pregnant as Sibs (hazard ratio 1.07, 95% confidence interval 0.97-1.19). Multivariable models showed a significant decrease in the risk of pregnancy with HPT RT doses≥22 Gy compared with those CCS receiving no HPT RT.

Conclusion(s): These results support the hypothesis that exposures of 22-27 Gy HPT RT may be a contributing factor to infertility among female CCS.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age of Onset
  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypothalamus / pathology
  • Hypothalamus / radiation effects*
  • Infertility, Female / epidemiology
  • Infertility, Female / etiology*
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Neoplasms / rehabilitation
  • Pituitary Gland / pathology
  • Pituitary Gland / radiation effects*
  • Pregnancy
  • Radiation Injuries / epidemiology
  • Radiotherapy Dosage
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survivors*