What threshold values of antral follicle count and serum AMH levels should be considered for oocyte cryopreservation after in vitro maturation?

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Abstract

STUDY QUESTION

What threshold values of ultrasonographic antral follicle count (AFC) and serum anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) levels should be considered for ensuring the cryopreservation of sufficient number of in vitro matured (IVM) oocytes, in cancer patients seeking fertility preservation (FP)?

SUMMARY ANSWER

AFC and serum AMH values >20 follicles and 3.7 ng/ml, respectively, are required for obtaining at least 10 IVM oocytes for cryopreservation.

WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY

IVM of cumulus oocyte complexes (COCs) followed by oocyte cryopreservation has emerged recently as an option for urgent FP. Recent data have reported that, in healthy patients, 8–20 cryopreserved oocytes after ovarian stimulation would maximize the chance of obtaining a live birth. Although both AFC and AMH have been reported as predictive factors of IVM success in infertile patients with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), there is a dramatic lack of data regarding the values of these parameters in oncological patients as candidates for FP.

STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION

From January 2009 to April 2015, we prospectively studied 340 cancer patients, aged 18–41 years, as candidates for oocyte cryopreservation following IVM.

PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS

All patients had AFC and AMH measurements, 48–72 h before oocyte retrieval, regardless of the phase of the cycle. COCs were recovered under ultrasound guidance 36 h after hCG priming. Logistic regression allowed the determination of threshold values of AFC and AMH, for obtaining at least 8, 10 or 15 matures oocytes frozen after the IVM procedure. Similar analyses were performed for a final number of mature oocytes ≤2.

MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE

Among the 340 cancer patients included, 300 were diagnosed with breast cancers, 14 had hematological malignancies and 26 underwent the procedure for others indications. Overall, the mean age of the population was 31.8 ± 4.5 years. Mean AFC and serum AMH levels were 21.7 ± 13.3 follicles and 4.4 ± 3.8 ng/ml, respectively. IVM was performed in equal proportions during the follicular or luteal phase of the cycle (49 and 51%, respectively). Statistical analysis showed that AFC and AMH values above 28 follicles and 3.9 ng/ml, 20 follicles and 3.7 ng/ml and 19 follicles and 3.5 ng/ml are required, respectively, for obtaining at least 15, 10 or 8 frozen IVM oocytes with a sensitivity ranging from 0.82 to 0.90. On the contrary, ≤2 IVM oocytes were cryopreserved when AFC and AMH were <19 follicles and 3.0 ng/ml, respectively.

LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION

Although the potential of cryopreserved IVM oocytes from cancer patients remains unknown, data obtained from infertile PCOS women have shown a dramatically reduced competence of these oocytes when compared with that of oocytes recovered after ovarian stimulation. As a consequence, the optimal number of IVM oocytes frozen in candidates for FP is currently unpredictable.

WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS

Cryopreservation of oocytes after IVM should be considered in the FP strategy when ovarian stimulation is unfeasible, in particular when markers of the follicular ovarian status are at a relatively high range. Further investigation is needed to objectively assess the real potential of these IVM oocytes after cryopreservation. Therefore, even when a good COCs yield is expected, we should systematically encourage IVM in combination with ovarian tissue cryopreservation.

STUDY FUNDING/COMPETING INTEREST(S)

No external funding was obtained for the present study. The authors have no conflict of interest to declare.

TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER

Not applicable.

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