Research News

SBI review on menopause treatment for cancer patients featured in The Lancet

  • 08 March, 2024


Professor Donal Brennan of Systems Biology Ireland (SBI), UCD, has published a featured review on menopause treatment for cancer patients in this week’s issue of the high-impact journal, The Lancet.

Managing Menopause After Cancer,” from Brennan and colleagues identifies the impact of early menopause and the severity of menopausal symptoms in cancer survivors, providing evidence-based recommendations from the current literature toward implementing a more personalised and multidisciplinary approach in treatment of menopause symptoms after cancer. The review looks at a number of factors including patient cancer types, age, socioeconomic status and cultural practices at play.

Brennan, Professor of Gynaecological Oncology at UCD School of Medicine and Principal Investigator in the Precision Oncology Ireland strategic partnership programme, as well as a gynaecological oncologist in the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital in Dublin, is the senior author on the paper.

“Patients have repeatedly highlighted the burden of menopause symptoms after cancer treatment. They feel that these are often minimised or in some cases ignored,” said Brennan. “We hope that this paper will provide a summary of evidence-based approaches to treat menopause symptoms, including the use of HRT if indicated and more importantly stimulate more research in this area.”

The article comes at an important juncture in cancer research where cancer survivorship is improving, but the long-term effects of treatment and quality of life issues are coming to the fore. “Managing Menopause After Cancer” specifically looks at long-term effects of cancer treatment such as premature ovarian insufficiency and early menopause. The symptoms of these can be significantly challenging to patients as they may be more severe than the symptoms of natural menopause. Brennan and colleagues give a comprehensive view of the current hormonal and non-hormonal therapy options studied and suggest a framework for more cost-effective and patient-focused models of care to meet the needs of a growing population of cancer survivors.

Brennan’s group at SBI focuses on precision medicine solutions for ovarian cancer and cancer genomics. Brennan also works on examining the underlying molecular mechanisms of obesity induced carcinogenesis with other active research groups in UCD and St. Vincent’s University Hospital, Dublin. He also leads the Women’s Health Initiative project at the Mater Hospital, funded by the Irish Cancer Society, which focuses on the development of evidence-based survivorship services for women living with and after cancer and leads a number of clinical trials in the area of menopause and cancer. In 2023, he was appointed National Clinical Lead for Cancer Research in Ireland.