Objective: To investigate the mechanism and degree of ovarian dysfunction in gestational trophoblastic disease (GTD) patients treated with etoposide alone.
Study design: Forty-seven patients with low-risk GTD were treated with etoposide alone, and pituitary-ovarian function was evaluated by measuring basal serum luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), estradiol and progesterone and by recording basal body temperature. Moreover, the responses of LH and FSH to the administration of LH-releasing hormone (LHRH) and the responses of prolactin to thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) were analyzed after the completion of etoposide treatment.
Results: Increased basal LH and FSH levels were found in approximately 50% of patients, especially those over 40 years old. Although the LH and FSH responses to LHRH were exaggerated in patients with high basal FSH levels, the prolactin responses to TRH were normal. Ovulation resumed within 121 days after the cessation of chemotherapy in women under 39 years. However, five of nine patients over 40 years remained anovulatory during the follow-up period.
Conclusion: Ovarian function was impaired in approximately 50% of patients treated with etoposide at the time of LHRH study, though pituitary function was preserved. This complication is age related but not related to the amount of etoposide exposure. Therefore, we must consider the possibility of permanent anovulation when we treat patients 40 years old and older.