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Dr. Frederic Amant on the Safety of Chemotherapy During Pregnancy

Frederic Amant, MD, PhD
Published Online:6:20 PM, Thu October 1, 2015


Frederic Amant, MD, PhD, assistant professor, gynecologic oncologist, head of the scientific section of gynecologic oncology at Katholieke Universiteit in Leuven, Belgium, discusses the impacts of chemotherapy on pregnant woman and their babies. Most woman who are diagnosed with cancer during their childbearing years have gynecologic, breast, or hematologic cancers, says Amant.

Previously, the standard of care for these woman was to delay or alter treatment until the pregnancy was completed, terminate the pregnancy, or induce pre-mature birth. However, a recent study that looked at children born to woman who had undergone chemotherapy during pregnancy compared to those who were induced pre-term, found that pre-term children performed worse than those who had been exposed to chemotherapy.

There was little impact seen on children who had been exposed to chemotherapy prenatally after 18- months of follow up. A control group of children that did not get exposed to chemotherapy but were born pre-term also faired worse than those who were born prematurely. This data suggests that it is safer to continue chemotherapy during pregnancy than to delay treatment or induce pre-term labor, says Amant.

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