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Chemotherapy-induced amenorrhea, menopause-specific quality of life, and endocrine profiles in premenopausal women with breast cancer who received adjuvant anthracycline-based chemotherapy: a prospective cohort study



We conducted a prospective observational study for premenopausal women receiving adjuvant adriamycin and cyclophosphamide-containing regimens to define the pattern of chemotherapy-induced amenorrhea (CIA), the menopause-specific quality of life (MENQOL), and the hormone profiles.


From October 2003 to July 2007, 387 patients with breast cancer who underwent curative surgery were prospectively included. Patient self-assessment by MENQOL questionnaires and blood samples for hormone assays were taken before chemotherapy, and 1, 6, and 12 months after chemotherapy was completed.


Patients were categorized into three groups according to their duration and reversibility of amenorrhea, with 312 eligible patients split into long-term CIA (n = 180, 57.7 %), temporary CIA (n = 113, 36.2 %), and menstrual irregularity (n = 19, 6.1 %) groups. Risk factors for long-term CIA were identified as age ≥40 years (p < 0.001), the addition of taxane (p = 0.01), and tamoxifen use (p = 0.03). MENQOL was worst immediately after the completion of adjuvant chemotherapy, and this was not fully recovered even 12 months after chemotherapy had finished. Age ≥40 years and tamoxifen exposure were inversely associated with MENQOL. In long-term CIA patients, the level of follicle-stimulating hormone increased after chemotherapy; this level, however, was reduced in patients who received tamoxifen, but remained high and stable in those who did not (p < 0.001 at 6 months; p < 0.001 at 12 months).


This study showed that most premenopausal breast cancer patients who received adjuvant chemotherapy experienced clinically significant CIA, followed by impaired MENQOL. Our findings may be relevant in the decision-making processes for premenopausal women with breast cancer.

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Correspondence to Sung-Bae Kim.

Additional information

Changhoon Yoo and Mi Ra Yun have equally contributed.

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Yoo, C., Yun, M.R., Ahn, J. et al. Chemotherapy-induced amenorrhea, menopause-specific quality of life, and endocrine profiles in premenopausal women with breast cancer who received adjuvant anthracycline-based chemotherapy: a prospective cohort study. Cancer Chemother Pharmacol 72, 565–575 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00280-013-2227-5

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  • Chemotherapy-induced amenorrhea
  • Breast cancer
  • Premenopausal
  • Quality of life