Breaking news: encouraging discoveries for breast cancer patients seeking parenthood

Woman holding a newborn baby

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The POSITIVE academic study was initiated to understand whether women, who desire to, can interrupt their post-surgery endocrine treatment to try to have a baby, without increasing the risk of cancer recurrence. New results have recently been presented at SABCS 2023.

Some results of the POSITIVE study have just been presented at the prestigious San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, one of the most recognised annual medical conferences for breast cancer research.

The first results of the POSITIVE study, presented at SABCS last year, revealed that young women diagnosed with breast cancer may safely interrupt their endocrine treatment to pursue pregnancy1. Nevertheless, uncertainties persisted regarding the safety of conceiving after undergoing fertility preservation and utilising assisted reproductive technologies (ART).

This year, Dr. Hatem A. Azim Jr. presented a secondary analysis at SABCS, expanding on the primary POSITIVE study results. The analysis involved 497 participants, with an impressive 74% achieving pregnancy after temporarily pausing endocrine therapy. Among them, 179 chose embryo or oocyte cryopreservation, while 215 explored various ART methods. Remarkably, younger age and cryopreserved embryo transfer demonstrated higher pregnancy rates without observable short-term impacts on breast cancer outcomes.

Additionally, ovarian stimulation for cryopreservation, which precedes cryopreserved embryo transfer, was not associated with worse disease outcomes.

Further analysis revealed that in most patients who had amenorrhea at the start of the trial, menses resumed within six months of discontinuing endocrine therapy. Importantly, the type of adjuvant endocrine therapy the patient had received did not impact the time it took to achieve pregnancy.

While acknowledging the study’s limitation of a short follow-up time, these findings provide hope and crucial insights for individuals navigating the complex intersection of breast cancer treatment and the pursuit of parenthood.


1  A H. Partridge et all : Interrupting Endocrine Therapy to Attempt Pregnancy after Breast Cancer; N Engl J Med 2023


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