The impact of risk reducing bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy on sexual function in BRCA1/2 mutation carriers and women with Lynch syndrome: A systematic review and meta-analysis

      Highlights

      • 71% of studies reported a negative impact of RRBSO on sexual function.
      • RRBSO has a statistically significant negative impact on sexual function (p = 0.03).
      • Vaginal dryness increases significantly post-RRBSO (p < 0.00001).
      • Sexual function deteriorates post RRBSO irrespective of menopausal status.
      • The effect of RRBSO on sexual function cannot be fully reversed by HRT.

      Abstract

      Objective

      In the absence of an effective screening test, women with a high genetic predisposition for ovarian cancer are recommended to undergo risk-reducing bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy (RRBSO) once childbearing is complete. This reduces the risk of ovarian cancer by up to 96%, but can result in undesirable side effects, including menopausal symptoms and sexual dysfunction.
      We have performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to investigate the effect of RRBSO on sexual function in women at high risk of breast/and or ovarian cancer.

      Methods

      A literature search of the AMED (Allied and complementary medicine), Embase and Medline databases was performed, using search terms including sexual function, risk reducing and oophorectomy. Results were filtered according to the PRISMA protocol. Quality assessment of studies was performed using the Newcastle-Ottawa scale. Data were pooled in meta-analysis.

      Results

      There were 21 eligible studies, 10 of which reported sufficient data for meta-analysis. Most studies were retrospective cohort or observational studies. Fifteen of the 21 studies (71%) reported a negative impact of RRBSO on sexual function. Participant numbers ranged from 37 to 1522. Meta-analysis was performed with studies including 3201 patients. This demonstrated that RRBSO has a statistically significant negative impact on sexual function (SMD −0.63, [−0.82, −0.44], p = 0.03). There was a trend towards reduced sexual pleasure and increased discomfort but this did not reach statistical significance. There was minimal change in the frequency of sex. There was a significant increase in vaginal dryness post-RRBSO (SMD 9.25, [3.66, 14.83], p < 0.00001). There was no significant difference in sexual function between pre-menopausal and post-menopausal RRBSO. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) did not abolish this negative impact.

      Conclusion

      Sexual function declines post RRBSO, independent of menopausal status. Comprehensive pre-operative counselling regarding anticipated menopausal and sexual symptoms is key to setting realistic patient expectations and minimising post-operative distress. Information and support regarding management of these side effects should be available to all patients.

      Keywords

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