This study explored the knowledge, attitudes and practice of physicians towards fertility and pregnancy-related issues in young BRCA-mutated breast cancer patients.
Physicians attending two international breast cancer conferences completed a 26-item questionnaire exploring fertility preservation, pregnancy during (BCP) or after breast cancer. A statistical comparison was carried out of the responses exploring the same issues in young breast cancer patients overall or specifically in those with BRCA mutations.
The survey was completed by 273 physicians. Ovarian tissue cryopreservation (33% versus 40%; P = 0.009) and gonadotrophin-releasing hormone analogues during chemotherapy (74% versus 81%; P = 0.001) were less commonly suggested in BRCA-mutated patients than in the overall breast cancer population. 42% of respondents agreed or were neutral on the statement that ovarian stimulation should not be considered safe in BRCA-mutated breast cancer patients.
45% and 30% agreed or were neutral on the statement that pregnancy in breast cancer survivors may increase the risk of recurrence in BRCA-mutated patients or in the overall breast cancer population, respectively (P < 0.001). 15% and 3% disagreed that transplanting the cryopreserved ovarian tissue can be considered safe in BRCA-mutated patients or in the overall breast cancer population, respectively (P < 0.001). 33.3% were against the addition of platinum agents as neoadjuvant chemotherapy in BRCA-mutated patients with BCP.
Several misconceptions on fertility preservation and pregnancy-related issues in breast cancer patients persist even among physicians directly involved in breast cancer care. Focused research efforts to address these issues in BRCA-mutated breast cancer patients and education to improve physicians’ knowledge and adherence to available guidelines are urgently needed.
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Matteo Lambertini is adjunct professor and consultant in medical oncology at the IRCCS Ospedale Policlinico San Martino - University of Genova in Genova, Italy, with a particular expertise in the management of breast cancer in young women. He has authored several publications in peer-reviewed journals and book chapters on this topic.
This survey exploring physicians’ perspectives towards fertility and pregnancy-related issues in young BRCA-mutated breast cancer patients showed that several misconceptions on these topics persist even among professionals directly involved in breast cancer care. Focused research efforts in BRCA-mutated patients and education to improve physicians’ adherence to guidelines are needed.
Published online: January 09, 2019
Accepted: November 27, 2018
Received in revised form: November 13, 2018
Received: October 10, 2018Declaration: Matteo Lambertini served as a consultant for Teva and received speaker honoraria from Theramex outside the submitted work. Hatem A Azim Jr. reports employment at Innate Pharma at the end of this study; this employment is not related in any way to the subject of the current study. All remaining authors declare no conflict of interest.
© 2019 Reproductive Healthcare Ltd. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.