Chemotherapy delivered in the first trimester is associated with a 10% to 30% risk of abortion and 10% to 25% risk of malformations. Therefore, it should be postponed until the second or third trimester, when most regimens appear to be safe, according to Nicholas Pavlidis, MD, of the University of Ioannina in Greece, who is coauthor of Cancer and Pregnancy (Springer, 2008). At a lecture during the 2011 European Multidisciplinary Cancer Congress, Dr. Pavlidis offered his principles for safely giving chemotherapy to pregnant women:
Dr. Pavlidis referred oncologists to the recent recommendations of the European Society of Medical Oncology for the treatment of pregnant patients with malignancies.1 ■
Disclosure: Dr. Pavlidis reported no potential conflicts of interest.
1. Pentheroudakis G, Orecchia R, Hoekstra HJ, et al: ESMO Guidelines Working Group. Cancer, fertility and pregnancy: ESMO Clinical Recommendations for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up. Ann Oncol 21(suppl 5):v266-v273, 2010.
The diagnosis of cancer in a pregnant woman causes concerns for both the mother and her unborn child. But studies suggest that most chemotherapy regimens can be delivered with reasonable safety after the first trimester. Cancer is diagnosed in about 1 per 1,000 to 2,000 pregnancies, mostly breast...