Primary ovarian insufficiency (POI), also known as premature ovarian failure, is a disorder of infertility characterized by amenorrhoea, low estrogen levels and increased gonadotropin levels in women aged <40 years. POI is the result of premature exhaustion of the follicle pool or can be attributed to follicular dysfunction, for example, owing to mutations in the follicle-stimulating hormone receptor or steroidogenic cell autoimmunity. Moreover, advances in cancer therapeutics over the past decades have led to increasing survival rates for both paediatric and adult malignancies. Given the gonadotoxic effect of many cancer treatments, more women develop POI. A marker that predicts whether women are at risk of POI would, therefore, aid in early diagnosis and fertility counselling. Anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH), a growth factor produced solely by small, growing follicles in the ovary, might constitute such a marker, as serum levels of this hormone correlate strongly with the number of growing follicles. In addition, AMH could potentially help assess the progression of ovarian senescence, as serum AMH levels are independent of hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis function and decrease to undetectable levels at menopause. In cancer survivors, serum AMH levels correlate with the extent of gonadal damage. In this Review, we provide an overview of the current studies that have measured AMH in women with POI of various aetiologies and discuss its possible application as a marker to determine ovarian reserve.
- EMC MM-01-39-04
- EMC MM-01-52-07