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Ann Oncol. 2010 Oct;21(10):2052-60. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdq066. Epub 2010 Mar 19.

No protection of the ovarian follicle pool with the use of GnRH-analogues or oral contraceptives in young women treated with escalated BEACOPP for advanced-stage Hodgkin lymphoma. Final results of a phase II trial from the German Hodgkin Study Group.

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German Hodgkin Study Group, First Department of Internal Medicine, University Hospital Cologne, Kerpener Strasse 62, Cologne, Germany.



The reduction of treatment-related toxic effects is the main goal in the current trials of the German Hodgkin Study Group (GHSG). In this regard, the protection of the ovarian reserve in young women is very important. Therefore, the GHSG investigated the use of gonadotropin-releasing hormone-analogues (GnRH-a) and oral contraceptives (OC) in young women with advanced-stage Hodgkin lymphoma (HL).


Women (18-40 years) were randomly assigned either to receive daily OC or monthly GnRH-a during escalated combination therapy with bleomycin, etoposide, adriamycin, cyclophosphamide, vincristine, procarbazine, and prednisone (BEACOPPesc). Hormonal levels were determined at baseline, during therapy, and at follow-up.


The study was closed prematurely after an interim analysis of 12 patients in arm A (OC) and 11 in arm B (GnRH-a), 9 and 10 are assessable for the primary end point. Women's median age was 25 years in both arms. The anti-Mullerian hormone level after at least 12 months was reduced in all patients. For the entire study cohort, the respective ovarian follicle preservation rate was 0% (95% confidence interval 0% to 12%).


We observed no protection of the ovarian reserve with hormonal co-treatment during BEACOPPesc. This result supports efforts of ongoing trials to reduce chemotherapy intensity and toxicity. Alternative strategies for the protection of fertility must be offered to young female HL patients before the start of BEACOPPesc therapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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