BRCA carriers have similar reproductive potential at baseline to noncarriers: comparisons in cancer and cancer-free cohorts undergoing fertility preservation

BRCA carriers with and without malignancy show comparable ovarian reserve and response to controlled ovarian stimulation compared with BRCA noncarriers undergoing fertility preservation.

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Volume 111, Issue 2, Pages 363–371


Vinay Gunnala, M.D., Jessica Fields, M.D., Mohamad Irani, M.D., Debra D'Angelo, M.S., Kangpu Xu, Ph.D., Glenn Schattman, M.D., Zev Rosenwaks, M.D.



To investigate whether BRCA carriers with and without malignancy have decreased ovarian reserve at baseline compared with BRCA noncarriers.


Retrospective cohort study.


Academic medical center.


Seven-hundred and ninety-five oocyte cryopreservation patients, comprising BRCA carriers with and without malignancy (n = 57) and BRCA noncarriers (n = 738).


Fertility preservation with oocyte cryopreservation.

Main Outcome Measure(s)

Antral follicle count (AFC), antimüllerian hormone (AMH) concentration, day-3 follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) level, number of harvested oocytes, and number of mature/cryopreserved oocytes.


In the cancer cohort we compared BRCA-positive breast cancer (n = 38) with BRCA-negative breast cancer (n = 53) and with non-breast-cancer malignancies (n = 85). In the cancer-free cohort we compared BRCA carriers (n = 19) with women undergoing elective egg freezing (n = 600). We also compared the BRCA1 (n = 31) versus the BRCA2 carriers (n = 18). The patients’ mean ages were 32.4 ± 3.6 years and 35.5 ± 4.3 years in the BRCA carrier and noncarrier cohorts, respectively. BRCA status was associated with a higher day-3 FSH level in the cancer cohort, but we found no changes in the other outcomes compared with the BRCA-negative cancer groups. BRCA carriers without cancer exhibited a higher AFC and number of mature oocytes compared with the patients undergoing planned egg freezing. Overall (cancer and cancer-free cohorts), the BRCA carriers had an increased AFC (15.5 ± 4.6 vs. 12.6 ± 5.7) and number of mature/cryopreserved oocytes (14.0 ± 7.9 vs. 10.4 ± 6.9) compared with the BRCA noncarriers but had no differences in other outcomes.


BRCA carriers with and without malignancy exhibit comparable ovarian reserve and responses to ovarian stimulation compared with women with BRCA-negative cancers and cancer-free controls.

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Fertility and Sterility

Editorial Office, American Society for Reproductive Medicine

Fertility and Sterility® is an international journal for obstetricians, gynecologists, reproductive endocrinologists, urologists, basic scientists and others who treat and investigate problems of infertility and human reproductive disorders.