Oncology Physicians' Perspectives on Practices and Barriers to Fertility Preservation and the Feasibility of a Prospective Study of Pregnancy After Breast Cancer.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Journal of adolescent and young adult oncology (2017)


PURPOSE: POSITIVE (Pregnancy Outcome and Safety of Interrupting Therapy for women with endocrine responsIVE breast cancer) is a prospective clinical trial assessing safety and pregnancy outcomes in premenopausal hormone receptor-positive breast cancer survivors (age ≤42) who interrupt endocrine therapy (ET) to attempt pregnancy. We sought to assess interest in this study and perspectives on fertility preservation (FP) among United States medical oncologists who had previously enrolled women at their institutions on select premenopausal endocrine studies.

METHODS: From August 2015 to December 2015, 301 investigators were invited to complete a web-based survey on behalf of their institution. We assessed FP practices and attitudes, barriers to discussing FP, and willingness to open/enroll women on POSITIVE.

RESULTS: Of 93 respondents (31%), most were affiliated with an National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated comprehensive cancer center (44%). Almost all said they usually or always discussed the issue of future fertility with patients (98%) and referred patients with fertility questions to specialists (97%). Over half of respondents cited discomfort with recommending women to stop ET, as well as perceived patient concern regarding ET interruption, as factors seen as influencing POSITIVE enrollment; however, 84% were willing to recommend trial participation for selected patients.

CONCLUSIONS: Most providers reported discussing fertility with their young patients, indicating awareness of FP guidelines for cancer patients. While most oncologists said that they would be willing to recommend POSITIVE, many also expressed discomfort in endorsing women to stop ET temporarily, underscoring the need for prospective data regarding the safety of ET interruption. High willingness to recommend POSITIVE suggests the potential for successful accrual to this study, which addresses a critical issue for young breast cancer survivors.