Preservation of ovarian function, reproductive ability and emotional attitudes in patients with malignant ovarian tumors

Vanna Zanagnolo, Enrico Sartori, Emanuela Trussardi, Brunella Pasinetti, Tiziano Maggino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: Although cancer is predominantly a disease of aging, an increasing number of women survive malignancies before or during their reproductive years, which may interfere with their fertility potential. Although a variety of studies have tried to document the impact of conservative treatment aimed at preserving ovarian function and reproductive ability, little information has been available regarding survivors' attitudes, emotions, and choices to have children. The aim of this study is to evaluate the reproductive history, experiences, attitudes, and emotions with regard to having children in conservatively treated patients with Stage I epithelial ovarian cancer, any stage LMP tumors, malignant ovarian germ cell tumors (MOGCTs) and Stage I sex cord-stromal tumors (SCSTs). Study design: Between 1986 and 2000, a total of 75 patients with primary malignant ovarian tumors underwent conservative treatment. Out of 75 patients in the study, 14 women (19%) presented Stage I epithelial ovarian cancer, 23 (31%) LMP tumors, 33 (43%) MOGCTs, and five (7%) SCSTs. Information was obtained from medical records and from a questionnaire mailed to all patients who were at least 15 years old at the time of the diagnosis (68 subjects). Median time of follow-up was 102 months (35-192 months). There were four (5.2%) clinical recurrences within 35 months. Only 20 patients (49%) had tried to conceive after the completion of their treatment; of these, 15 women (75%) succeeded and delivered 19 healthy children. Seventy percent (32/41) of the respondents claimed that their disease did not have any impact on their desire to have children. Whereas 51% (21/41) fear that their ovarian disease could have damaged their reproductive potential, 76% (31/41) are not concerned about the effects of the treatment they received on offspring. The impact of the disease on the patients' attitudes toward life was reported as positive. Conclusion: The results from our study, in agreement with the data from the literature, confirm that management of Stage I (grade 1, grade 2) epithelial ovarian cancer, any stage LMP tumors, MOGCTs and Stage I SCSTs with fertility-sparing surgery is a safe, practicable treatment option. Though preliminary, this survey provides insight into the attitudes and experiences of young women ovarian cancer survivors regarding fertility.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-243
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Biology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2005


  • Fertility preservation
  • Ovarian tumors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Reproductive Medicine

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