The Rates of Chemotherapy-Induced Amenorrhea in Patients Treated With Adjuvant Doxorubicin and Cyclophosphamide Followed by a Taxane

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Adjuvant chemotherapy in premenopausal women with breast cancer may induce amenorrhea, which can affect fertility, choice of hormonal therapy, and increase the risk of late toxicity. The incidence of chemotherapy-induced amenorrhea (CIA) resulting from doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide (AC) followed by a taxane (T) is poorly characterized.


We retrospectively surveyed women who were premenopausal and less than age 50 at initiation of chemotherapy to determine the rates of CIA in women receiving AC followed by T compared with AC alone.


One hundred ninety-one eligible women completed the survey. The rate of CIA in women who received AC followed by T was 64% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 55–72%) compared with 55% (95% CI = 43–66%) in AC alone. As expected, CIA rates were higher in older than younger women (82% vs. 55%, P = 0.004). Multivariate logistic regression analysis revealed that age >40 was associated with a 4.6-fold increased risk of CIA (95% CI = 1.7–12.1, P = 0.002). It also revealed that receiving T after AC was associated with an odds ratio of 1.9 for CIA as compared with receiving AC alone (95% CI = 1.0–3.5, P = 0.05). Despite ≥6 months of amenorrhea, many women ≤40 resumed menses (40%). CIA was more likely to be irreversible in those >40. The addition of taxanes did not alter the rate of reversibility for the group as a whole (P = 0.36).


Older age and the addition of taxane to AC increased the risk of CIA and the amenorrhea was more likely to be irreversible for women >40. Women ≤40 often resume menstruation even after 6 months of amenorrhea, and the addition of T does not play a role. Subsequent resumption of menstrual function must be considered when initiating appropriate hormonal therapy.

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