Fertility-sparing for young patients with gynecologic cancer: How MRI can guide patient selection prior to conservative management

Abdom Radiol (NY). 2017 Oct;42(10):2488-2512. doi: 10.1007/s00261-017-1179-3.


Historically, cancer treatment has emphasized measures for the "cure" regardless of the long-term consequences. Advances in cancer detection and treatment have resulted in improved outcomes bringing to the fore various quality of life considerations including future fertility. For many young cancer patients, fertility preservation is now an integral component of clinical decision-making and treatment design. Optimal fertility-sparing options for young patients with gynecologic cancer are influenced by patient age, primary cancer, treatment regimens, and patient preferences. Possible approaches include embryo or oocyte cryopreservation, ovarian transposition, conservative surgery, and conservative medical treatment to delay radical surgery. These may be used alone or in combination to maximize fertility preservation. Awareness of the various fertility-sparing options, eligibility criteria, and the central role of magnetic resonance imaging in the proper selection of patients will enable radiologists to produce complete clinically relevant imaging reports and serve as effective consultants to referring clinicians. Knowledge of the potential imaging pitfalls is essential to avoid misinterpretation and guide appropriate management.

Keywords: Cancer; Fertility preservation; Gynecologic cancer; Magnetic resonance imaging; Oncofertility.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Conservative Treatment*
  • Female
  • Fertility Preservation*
  • Genital Neoplasms, Female / diagnostic imaging*
  • Genital Neoplasms, Female / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Patient Selection*