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Anticancer Drugs and Pregnancy

When cancer occurs in pregnancy, there is frequently a conflict between optimal maternal therapy and fetal well-being. In general, malignant conditions during pregnancy are probably not associated with poor fetal and perinatal outcomes when compared to non-pregnant women.

However, there is sparse data on children's higher order brain functioning following in utero exposure to maternal cancer and its associated treatment. The literature has mainly focused on the structural observations made very close to the time of delivery and suggests that exposure to antineoplastic (anticancer) medications after the first trimester does not pose an increased teratogenic risk. However, since brain development occurs throughout gestation, exposure in later pregnancy may result in neurodevelopmental consequences.

Chemotherapeutic agents and/or radiation are known teratogens. The developing embryo and fetus are extremely sensitive to ionizing radiation 53 used in radiation therapy and the human brain seems to be the most sensitive organ.

The information in this page is presented in summarised form and has been taken from the following source(s):
1. Motherisk, The Hospital for Sick Children: http://www.motherisk.org/


Other HON resources 
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Anticancer Drugs & Pregnancy
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Antineoplastic Agents

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Antineoplastic Agents
 

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  http://www.hon.ch/Dossier/MotherChild/preg_drugs/anticancer.html Last modified: Jun 25 2002