Fertility and Endocrine Preservation in the Management of Colorectal Cancer in Women

Colorectal Cancer

Chae-Kim J and Hayslip CC. Dis Colon Rectum 2020.


A 28-year-old nulliparous woman presented with rectal bleeding. Colonoscopy revealed a 4-cm malignant-appearing mass in the proximal rectum, and biopsies confirmed invasive adenocarcinoma of the rectum. Computed tomography scan showed no evidence of metastatic disease. Staging MRI found transmural extension with minimal stranding in the adjacent fat, as well as no evidence of pathological pelvic adenopathy, consistent with a T3N0 lesion. The proposed treatment plan involved neoadjuvant

chemotherapy and radiation therapy before primary surgical resection. The patient desired fertility preservation and was referred immediately to Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. She underwent assisted reproduction with oocyte and blastocyst cryopreservation followed by laparoscopic ovarian transposition. Nine months after surgical low anterior resection of the tumor and completion of her cancer treatment, her ovaries were repositioned to their normal pelvic position during an ileostomy takedown procedure. She underwent a frozen embryo transfer but did not conceive. She resumed menses and later conceived spontaneously. Her pregnancy was complicated by cervical incompetence, requiring cervical cerclage. She delivered a live male infant via cesarean delivery at 32 weeks gestation, approximately 2 years after completion of cancer therapy. Four years after diagnosis, the patient remains in remission with undetectable CEA levels.