Clinical outcomes of leuprolide acetate in the treatment of recurrent ovarian granulosa cell tumors

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2023 Jun;228(6):724.e1-724.e9. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2023.02.029. Epub 2023 Mar 11.


Background: The optimal treatment of recurrent ovarian granulosa cell tumors is not known. Preclinical studies and small case series have suggested direct antitumor activity of gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists in the treatment of this disease, but little is known about the efficacy and safety of this approach.

Objective: This study aimed to describe patterns of use and clinical outcomes of leuprolide acetate in a cohort of patients with recurrent granulosa cell tumors.

Study design: This was a retrospective cohort study of patients enrolled in the Rare Gynecologic Malignancy Registry at a large cancer referral center and affiliated county hospital. Patients meeting inclusion criteria had a diagnosis of recurrent granulosa cell tumor and received either leuprolide acetate or traditional chemotherapy as cancer treatment. Outcomes were separately examined for leuprolide acetate used as adjuvant treatment, maintenance therapy, and the treatment of gross disease. Demographic and clinical data were summarized using descriptive statistics. Progression-free survival was calculated from the initiation of treatment to the date of disease progression or death, and compared between groups with the log-rank test. The 6-month clinical benefit rate was defined as the percentage of patients without disease progression 6 months after starting therapy.

Results: Sixty-two patients received a total of 78 leuprolide acetate-containing therapy courses, owing to 16 instances of retreatment. Of these 78 courses, 57 (73%) were for treatment of gross disease, 10 (13%) were adjuvant to tumor reductive surgery, and 11 (14%) were for maintenance therapy. Patients had received a median of 2 (interquartile range, 1-3) systemic therapy regimens before their first leuprolide acetate treatment. Tumor reductive surgery (100% [62/62]) and platinum-based chemotherapy (81% [50/62]) were common before first leuprolide acetate exposure. The median duration of leuprolide acetate therapy was 9.6 months (interquartile range, 4.8-16.5). Nearly half of the therapy courses were single-agent leuprolide acetate (49% [38/78]). Combination regimens most often included an aromatase inhibitor (23% [18/78]). Disease progression was the most common cause of discontinuation (77% [60/78]); only 1 patient (1%) discontinued leuprolide acetate because of adverse events. In the treatment of gross disease, the 6-month clinical benefit rate for first use of leuprolide acetate was 66% (95% confidence interval, 54-82). Median progression-free survival was not statistically different compared with that which followed chemotherapy (10.3 months [95% confidence interval, 8.0-16.0] vs 8.0 months [95% confidence interval, 5.0-15.3]; P=.3).

Conclusion: In a large cohort of patients with recurrent granulosa cell tumors, the 6-month clinical benefit rate of first-time leuprolide acetate treatment of gross disease was 66% and progression-free survival was comparable to patients treated with chemotherapy. Leuprolide acetate regimens were heterogeneous, but significant toxicity was rare. These results support leuprolide acetate as safe and effective for the treatment of relapsed adult granulosa cell tumors in the second line and beyond.

Keywords: antineoplastic agents; cohort studies; granulosa cell tumor; hormonal; hormone receptor agonists; leuprolide acetate; luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone; ovarian neoplasms; receptors.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Granulosa Cell Tumor* / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Leuprolide / therapeutic use
  • Ovarian Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Leuprolide

Supplementary concepts

  • Granulosa cell tumor of the ovary