Fertility-sparing Surgery for Patients with Cervical, Endometrial, and Ovarian Cancers

Jaden R. Kohn, Payam Katebi Kashi, Stefany Acosta-Torres, Anna L. Beavis, Mindy S. Christianson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Nearly 10% of the 1.3 million women living with a gynecologic cancer are aged <50 years. For these women, although their cancer treatment can be lifesaving, it's also life-altering because traditional surgical procedures can cause infertility and, in many cases, induce surgical menopause. For appropriately selected patients, fertility-sparing options can reduce the reproductive impact of lifesaving cancer treatments. This review will highlight existing recommendations as well as innovative research for fertility-sparing treatment in the 3 major gynecologic cancers. Tabulation, Integration, and Results: For early-stage cervical cancers, fertility-sparing surgeries include cold knife conization, simple hysterectomy with ovarian preservation, or radical trachelectomy with placement of a permanent cerclage. In locally advanced cervical cancer, ovarian transposition before radiation therapy can help preserve ovarian function. For endometrial cancers, fertility-sparing treatment includes progestin therapy with endometrial sampling every 3 to 6 months. After cancer regression, progestin therapy can be halted to allow attempts to conceive. Hysterectomy with ovarian preservation can also be considered, allowing for fertility using assisted reproductive technology and a gestational carrier. For ovarian cancers, fertility-sparing surgery includes unilateral salpingo-oophorectomy or bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy (with lymphadenectomy and staging depending on tumor histology). With higher-risk histology or higher early-stage disease, adjuvant chemotherapy is recommended—however, this carries a 3% to 10% risk of ovarian failure. Use of oocyte or embryo cryopreservation in patients with early-stage ovarian malignancy remains an area of ongoing research. Conclusion: Overall, fertility-sparing management of gynecologic cancers is associated with acceptable rates of progression-free survival and overall survival and is less life-altering than more radical surgical approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)392-402
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Minimally Invasive Gynecology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • Cervical cancer
  • Endometrial cancer
  • Fertility
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Ovarian preservation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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