Anticancer treatments and female fertility: clinical concerns and role of oncologists in oncofertility practice

Expert Rev Anticancer Ther. 2017 Aug;17(8):687-692. doi: 10.1080/14737140.2017.1335199. Epub 2017 Jun 5.


Anticancer treatments such as aggressive chemotherapy and radiotherapy have deleterious gonadotoxic side effects and are considered the most common causes of pathological and iatrogenic fertility loss in women. Areas covered: In order to preserve fertility of young women and girls with cancer, several established, experimental, and debatable options can be offered in the emerging field of oncofertility. This article reviews the effects of anticancer treatments on female fertility and discusses the current challenges and future directions of fertility preservation options that can be offered to the female patients with cancer. Expert commentary: Although promising, several medical, economic, social and legal barriers face oncofertility practice around the globe especially in underserved areas. To overcome such barriers, more effective solutions should be provided to spread awareness and enhance communication between patients, oncologists and gynecologists. Early referral by oncologists before initiation of chemotherapy and radiotherapy is an important key factor for success in female fertility preservation strategies.

Keywords: Anticancer treatments; female fertility loss; female fertility preservation; gonadotoxicity; oncofertility.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects
  • Communication
  • Female
  • Fertility Preservation / methods*
  • Gynecology / organization & administration
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Female / etiology
  • Infertility, Female / prevention & control*
  • Interdisciplinary Communication
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Oncologists / organization & administration
  • Radiation Injuries / prevention & control
  • Referral and Consultation


  • Antineoplastic Agents