Chemo Usually Safe for Pregnant Women with Cancer


Credit: Valua Vitaly | Dreamstime

Chemo Usually Safe for Pregnant Women with Cancer

In a finding thatِ isِ reassuring toِ pregnant women withِ cancer, chemotherapy doesِ not appearِ to pose seriousِ long-term health consequences forِ the unborn fetus, according toِ a newِ study.
Children inِ the study whoseِ mothers wereِ treated withِ chemotherapy duringِ pregnancy didِ just asِ well developmentally asِ children inِ the general population, theِ researchers said.
Our findings doِ not support a strategy ofِ delay inِ chemotherapy administration orِ physician induced] preterm delivery…to avoid harm toِ theِ fetus, theِ researchers wrote inِ their study.

Cancer in pregnancy

The study included 68 pregnant women fromِ Belgium, The Netherlands andِ the Czech Republic whoِ wereِ treated withِ threeِ to fourِ cycles ofِ chemotherapy duringِ pregnancy.
More thanِ two-thirds ofِ the women gave birth prematurely (at lessِ than 37 weeks.) Some children wereِ enrolled inِ the study atِ birth, whileِ othersِ were identified later, andِ the age range ofِ the total group wasِ 1.5-to-18-years old.
The researchers usedِ a variety ofِ tests toِ assess theِ children’s general health andِ development, heart function andِ mental abilities.

Brain protection

Although theِ blood-brain barrier ofِ a fetus wasِ onceِ thought toِ beِ leaky, allowing compounds inِ a mother’s blood toِ reach theِ developing brain, recentِ data suggests theِ brain isِ actuallyِ quite protected againstِ chemotherapy drugs, possibility explaining theِ overallِ positive results.
While anyِ group ofِ children whoِ areِ born preterm haveِ lower developmental scores, theِ researchers noted theyِ cannotِ rule outِ the possiblility thatِ the scores wereِ madeِ worse byِ the chemotherapy.
Because theِ study wasِ quiteِ small, a larger study inِ which children areِ followed forِ a longer period ofِ time shouldِ beِ conducted toِ confirm theِ results, theِ researchers said.