Growth and development of children of mothers treated with chemotherapy during pregnancy: current status of 43 children

Am J Hematol. 1991 Apr;36(4):243-8. doi: 10.1002/ajh.2830360404.


To evaluate the potential teratogenicity of modern cancer treatment, 43 children born to mothers with hematological malignancies (18 with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, 14 Hodgkin disease, seven acute leukemia, and four with chronic granulocytic leukemia) who received chemotherapy during some portion of their pregnancy, including 19 of these 43 who received chemotherapy during the first trimester, were examined for physical health, growth, and development. Immunological, hematological, and cytogenetic status also were evaluated. The children's ages ranged from 3 to 19 years. The children had a careful history and physical examination to detect any abnormal symptoms or signs and the mother's previous chemotherapy was carefully documented. In all of the children studied, physical, neurological, psychological, hematological, immune function, and cytogenetics were normal. These results suggest that chemotherapy can be administered during pregnancy, even during the first trimester, because it is not hazardous to the fetus; nevertheless, this study is inadequate in size to exclude the possibility of teratogenesis, and more reports are necessary to define the best treatment from cancer during pregnancy.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Behavior / drug effects
  • Bleomycin / therapeutic use
  • Body Height / drug effects
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Child
  • Child Development / drug effects*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dacarbazine / therapeutic use
  • Doxorubicin / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hodgkin Disease / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulins / analysis
  • Intelligence / drug effects
  • Leukemia / drug therapy
  • Leukemia, Myelogenous, Chronic, BCR-ABL Positive / drug therapy
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / drug therapy
  • Mechlorethamine / therapeutic use
  • Methotrexate / therapeutic use
  • Prednisone / therapeutic use
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Neoplastic / drug therapy*
  • Procarbazine / therapeutic use
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Vinblastine
  • Vincristine / therapeutic use


  • Immunoglobulins
  • Bleomycin
  • Procarbazine
  • Mechlorethamine
  • Vincristine
  • Vinblastine
  • Dacarbazine
  • Doxorubicin
  • Prednisone
  • Methotrexate

Supplementary concepts

  • ABVD protocol
  • MOPP protocol