The aim of this study was to characterize the factors associated with chemotherapy-induced amenorrhea (CIA) and to examine whether the phase of the menstrual cycle at chemotherapy start could affect the rate of CIA in premenopausal women with early breast cancer.Methods
CIA was defined as the cessation of menses for at least 3 months during or after chemotherapy. Menstrual phase was defined as days 1–6, follicular phase as days 7–14, luteal phase as days 15–20 and premenstrual phase as days 21–28. Univariate and multivariate predictors of CIA were examined.Results
Among 111 premenopausal women, univariate analysis showed a higher incidence of CIA in patients treated in the follicular phase rather than in other menstrual cycle phases (67.6% compared with 45.5%; P=0.03). The rate of CIA increased with age: 65.2% and 45.8% in patients aged >42 and ≤42 years, respectively (P=0.05). Upon multivariate analysis these differences remained statistically significant and duration of chemotherapy of more than six cycles correlated significantly with the incidence of CIA (P=0.03).Conclusions
The major implication of this analysis is that the timing of treatment within the menstrual cycle may potentially modulate the onset of CIA. This work and its future confirmation using prospective randomized trials would be useful in predicting the likelihood of CIA and in counseling breast cancer patients, especially those with a good prognosis who benefit less from chemical castration.