, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 585-592

Quality of life in female cancer survivors: is it related to ovarian reserve?

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The purpose of the study is to assess the quality-of-life scores and possible association with measures of ovarian reserve in female cancer survivors compared to healthy controls of similar age.


In this prospective cohort study, fifty-nine cancer survivors aged 16–39 years and 66 healthy, similarly aged unexposed women were recruited at the University of Pennsylvania. The primary outcome measures are the generic and cancer-specific domain scores on the Quality of Life in Adult Cancer Survivors (QLACS) instrument, early follicular phase serum hormones, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), estradiol (E2), inhibin B (INH), anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH), and ovarian ultrasound measurements [ovarian volume and antral follicle count (AFC)].


Cancer survivors had significantly higher total and cancer-specific domain scores compared to unexposed participants. Serum AMH, INH, ovarian volume, and AFC were lower while serum FSH was higher in cancer survivors. Although survivors exhibited diminished ovarian reserve, these markers were not independently associated with total QLACS score. Cancer survivors with irregular menstrual function were found to have lower quality-of-life (QOL) scores than those with regular cycles.


We found that QOL appears to be significantly impaired in cancer survivors compared to controls, even when remote from initial cancer diagnosis. In addition, our study suggests that reproductive aging contributes to QOL in the setting of irregular menses and likely profound impairment of ovarian function.

Presented at the 65th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia, October 17–21, 2009.