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Pharmacol Ther. 1997;74(2):207-20.

Cytotoxic therapy and pregnancy.

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  • 1Institute of Clinical Pharmacology, Medical School Technical University, Dresden, Germany.


The use of cytotoxic agents during pregnancy may be unavoidable in order to ensure maternal survival-despite the dangers to the developing fetus. We review 217 such cases published between 1983 and 1995, classifying them into 5 groups according to whether the cytotoxic drugs were used to treat leukaemias, malignant lymphomas, severe rheumatic diseases, gynaecological/breast neoplasms, or other grave conditions. Various factors, such as the drug type, dose, and timing to exposure to gestational age, are analysed with respect to the outcome of these pregnancies (teratogenicity, stillbirths, spontaneous abortions, prematurity, etc.). These results are then integrated in order to determine whether one can predict the individual risk of abnormality for the newborn when cytotoxic agents must be administered to pregnant women faced with a malignancy or other serious condition.

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