July 19, 2011, 1:07 p.m.
Researchers in Italy conducted a Phase 3 study of 281 women diagnosed with breast cancer who had not begun menopause. The women were randomly assigned to receive triptorelin injections or a placebo before and during chemotherapy. The women were followed for one year after the last chemotherapy treatment.
Just over one-quarter of the women in the placebo group experienced menopause due to chemotherapy compared with only 8.9% of the women who received triptorelin. The patients’ ages and type of chemotherapy did not influence the risk of developing menopause.
Questions remain about the treatment, however. It’s not clear whether preservation of menstruation also means that fertility is preserved. The long-term safety of using the medication and its effect on cancer survival is also not clear, especially for women with hormone-sensitive breast cancer. Other studies on similar types of medications found no effect on menopause onset.