Clinical summary guide: Reproduction in women with previous abdominopelvic radiotherapy or total body irradiation

G. Rozen, P. Rogers, S. Chander, R. Anderson, O. McNally, M. Umstad, A. Winship, K. Hutt, W.T. Teh, A. Dobrotwir, R. Hart, W. Ledger, K. Stern

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14 Citations (Scopus)


STUDY QUESTION: What is the evidence to guide the management of women who wish to conceive following abdominopelvic radiotherapy (AP RT) or total body irradiation (TBI)? SUMMARY ANSWER: Pregnancy is possible, even following higher doses of post-pubertal uterine radiation exposure; however, it is associated with adverse reproductive sequelae and pregnancies must be managed in a high-risk obstetric unit. WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY: In addition to primary ovarian insufficiency, female survivors who are treated with AP RT and TBI are at risk of damage to the uterus. This may impact on its function and manifest as adverse reproductive sequelae. STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION: A review of the literature was carried out and a multidisciplinary working group provided expert opinion regarding assessment of the uterus and obstetric management. PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS: Reproductive outcomes for postpubertal women with uterine radiation exposure in the form of AP RT or TBI were reviewed. This included Pubmed listed peer-reviewed publications from 1990 to 2019, and limited to English language.. MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE: The prepubertal uterus is much more vulnerable to the effects of radiation than after puberty. Almost all available information about the impact of radiation on the uterus comes from studies of radiation exposure during childhood or adolescence. An uncomplicated pregnancy is possible, even with doses as high as 54 Gy. Therefore, tumour treatment doses alone cannot at present be used to accurately predict uterine damage. LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION: Much of the data cannot be readily extrapolated to adult women who have had uterine radiation and the publications concerning adult women treated with AP RT are largely limited to case reports. WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS: This analysis offers clinical guidance and assists with patient counselling. It is important to include patients who have undergone AP RT or TBI in prospective studies to provide further evidence regarding uterine function, pregnancy outcomes and correlation of imaging with clinical outcomes. STUDY FUNDING/COMPETING INTEREST(S): This study received no funding and there are no conflicts of interest. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: N/A.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberhoaa045
Number of pages9
JournalHuman Reproduction Open
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 25 Oct 2020


  • Cancer treatment
  • Fertility preservation
  • Infertility
  • Oncofertility
  • Radiation
  • Radiation treatment
  • Radiotherapy
  • Uterus

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