Spontaneous recovery of chemotherapy-induced primary ovarian failure: implications for management

Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 1997 Feb;46(2):217-9. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2265.1997.771575.x.


A 14-year-old female patient presented with a swelling, which was excised, over the left forearm. Histology revealed a poorly differentiated rhabdomyosarcoma and she was treated with multiple chemotherapy for 2 years, including cyclophosphamide, cisplatin and vincristine. She developed secondary amenorrhoea shortly after commencing treatment which persisted on its completion. Biochemical investigations were consistent with ovarian failure, which was assumed to be chemotherapy-induced and permanent. She was given hormone replacement with a conjugated equine oestrogen/norgestrel combination, resulting in regular withdrawal bleeding. At 22 years of age; she presented with amenorrhoea for 3 months. Investigations revealed FSH 2.7 IU/l, LH > 50 IU/l and oestradiol > 1320 pmol/l. A pregnancy test was positive and subsequent ultrasound scanning confirmed the presence of a foetus of 18 weeks gestation. The patient initially considered a termination as she had been unprepared for this event but later elected to continue the pregnancy which proceeded uneventfully and resulted in the birth of a normal infant. Ovarian function should be reassessed periodically in patients with chemotherapy-induced gonadal damage and/or the oral contraceptive pill should be used as hormone replacement unless fertility is desired.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Amenorrhea / chemically induced*
  • Amenorrhea / physiopathology
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / adverse effects*
  • Cisplatin / administration & dosage
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Cyclophosphamide / administration & dosage
  • Female
  • Forearm
  • Humans
  • Ovary / drug effects
  • Ovary / physiopathology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Remission, Spontaneous
  • Rhabdomyosarcoma / drug therapy
  • Rhabdomyosarcoma / surgery
  • Vincristine / administration & dosage


  • Vincristine
  • Cyclophosphamide
  • Cisplatin