Washington D.C. [USA], Dec. 6 : British researchers have revealed that a chemotherapy drug combination, commonly used to target cancer, may increase the number of non-growing eggs in women's ovaries.
A study indicates that a therapy commonly used to target Hodgkin's lymphoma appears to have increased the number of non-growing eggs in women's ovaries.
The findings - published in the journal Human Reproduction - were supported by the Medical Research Council.
Scientists from the University of Edinburgh in London analysed samples of ovary tissue donated by 14 women, who had undergone chemotherapy, and from 12 other healthy women.
They found that the ovaries of eight of the cancer patients, who had been treated with a drug combination known as Adriamycin, Bleomycin, Vinblastine and Dacarbazine (ABVD) , had a much greater incidence of immature or non-growing eggs compared with the tissue from women, who had received a different chemotherapy or from healthy women of a similar age.
The ovary tissues were seen to be in healthy condition, appearing similar to tissue from young women ovaries.
If further research can reveal the mechanism by which treatment with ABVD results in increased production of eggs, this would aid understanding of how women might be able to produce more eggs during their lifetime, which was until recently thought to be impossible.
The researchers had set out to better understand why treatment with ABVD is one of the few cancer drug combinations that does not impact women's fertility.
"This study involves only a few patients, but its findings were consistent and its outcome may be significant and far-reaching.
We need to know more about how this drug combination acts on the ovaries, and the implications of this," said lead researcher Evelyn Telfer from University of Edinburgh's School of Biological Sciences.
The researchers say it is too soon to link the outcome to fertility, but they believe more researches required for better understanding of the findings and their implications.