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Critical Care and Emergency Medicine - Immunology - Oncology - Pharmacology

The Risk of Amenorrhea Is Related to Chemotherapy-Induced Leucopenia in Breast Cancer Patients Receiving Epirubicin and Taxane Based Chemotherapy
Published: Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Author: Wenbin Zhou et al.

by Wenbin Zhou, Qiang Ding, Xiuqing Liang, Zhongyuan He, Xiaoming Zha, Xiaoan Liu, Shui Wang


Chemotherapy-induced amenorrhea (CIA) is common in young breast cancer patients. The incidence of CIA associated with regimens involving epirubicin and taxane was not well known. Furthermore, previous studies suggested leucopenia and amenorrhea may reflect inter-individual variations in pharmacokinetics. The purpose of this study was to investigate the association between leucopenia after first cycle of chemotherapy and CIA in young breast cancer patients receiving epirubicin and taxane based chemotherapy. Furthermore, the incidence of CIA was also assessed.

Methodology and Principal Findings

Between October 2008 and March 2010, 186 consecutive premenopausal patients, treated with epirubicin and taxane based chemotherapy, were recruited. Information about CIA was collected by telephone and out-patient clinic. Of these 186 patients, data from 165 patients were included and analyzed. Of all 165 patients, CIA occurred in 72 patients (43.64%). In multivariate analysis, age older than 40 y (OR: 16.10, 95% CI: 6.34–40.88, P<0.001) and previous childbearing (OR: 3.17, 95% CI: 1.06–9.47, P?=?0.038) were significantly associated with probability of CIA. Compared to patients treated without taxane, patients treated with taxane-contained regimens did not have a significantly higher rate of CIA (P>0.05). The rate of CIA in leucopenia group (52.56%) was significantly higher than that in normal leukocyte group (34.62%) (P?=?0.024). In patients treated with a FEC regimen (cyclophosphamide, epirubicin and 5-fluorouracil), the rate of CIA in leucopenia group (59.57%) was significantly higher than that in normal leukocyte group (36.84%) (P?=?0.037).


Age at diagnosis and previous childbearing were both found to significantly increase the risk of CIA, whereas additional taxane was not associated with increased rate of CIA. Importantly, leucopenia after first cycle of chemotherapy was associated with increased risk of CIA, which suggested that leucopenia may be an early predictor of chemotherapy-induced infertility.