Ovarian ablation is a type of hormonal therapy or endocrine therapy given after other treatments, such as surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiation therapy for early-stage breast cancer. The goal of hormonal therapy is to manage the growth and recurrence of a tumor that tests positive for either estrogen or progesterone receptors. These tumors are called hormone-receptor positive because they depend on the hormones estrogen and/or progesterone to grow. About 75% to 80% of breast cancers are hormone receptor-positive. The most common drugs used as hormonal therapy are tamoxifen (Nolvadex) and aromatase inhibitors.
Ovarian ablation reduces the amount of hormones produced by the ovaries and may be appropriate for women with hormone-positive breast cancer who have not been through menopause. It uses drugs called luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) analogues, such as goserelin (Zoladex) and leuprolide (Lupron), to temporarily stop the ovaries from producing hormones. Or, ovarian ablation may refer to the surgical removal of the ovaries (called an oophorectomy) or radiation therapy to the ovaries to permanently stop the ovaries from producing hormones.