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Children exposed to chemotherapy in utero.

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  • 1Department of Breast Medical Oncology, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Blvd., Unit 424, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


The majority of the information on the effects of in utero exposure to chemotherapy has been derived from retrospective case reports and series. Overviews of the available data have concluded that the timing of chemotherapy exposure (first trimester versus second and third trimesters) as well as the chemotherapeutic agent or agents used affect the risk of spontaneous abortion and miscarriage as well as that of congenital abnormalities. Although there are data from a prospective series of 24 pregnant breast cancer patients treated at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, there are limited case series in women with hematologic malignancies, with the largest series having 89 pregnancies, that indicate that the fetuses exposed to chemotherapy in utero in the second and third trimesters can be carried to term, be born without evidence of congenital abnormalities, and develop normally. Clearly, ongoing prospective collection of data on the children born to women undergoing therapy for cancer is necessary.

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