ESMO: Exposure to chemotherapy or radiotherapy in the womb doesn’t harm child’s mental or cardiac development
as presented at the annual meeting of the European Society for Medical Oncology
Children exposed to chemotherapy or radiotherapy while in the womb suffer no negative impacts on mental or cardiac development, international studies presented at ESMO, held in September in Madrid, have shown.
“When chemotherapy is administered after the first trimester of pregnancy, we cannot discern any problems in the children,” says lead author Dr. Frederic Amant, University Hospitals Leuven in Belgium. “Fear about the risks of chemotherapy administration should not be a reason to terminate a pregnancy, delay cancer treatment for the mother, or to deliver a baby prematurely.”
In the first of three studies his research group presented, 38 children prenatally exposed to chemotherapy were recruited from the International Network for Cancer, Infertility and Pregnancy (INCIP) registry and assessed for mental development and cardiac health. Their outcomes were compared to 38 control children who were not exposed to chemotherapy.
At a median age of almost two years of age, mental development as measured by the Mental Development Index was in the normal range for both groups of children, and were not significantly different. Cardiac dimensions and functions were within normal ranges for both groups.
This is the first case control study on the developmental outcome of children exposed in utero to chemotherapy. It shows that chemotherapy during pregnancy can be considered safe for mental development and cardiac functioning of the child, the researchers say.
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