Breast cancer in pregnancy: recommendations of an international consensus meeting

Eur J Cancer. 2010 Dec;46(18):3158-68. doi: 10.1016/j.ejca.2010.09.010.


Purpose: To provide guidance for clinicians about the diagnosis, staging and treatment of breast cancer occurring during an otherwise uncomplicated pregnancy.

Methods: An international expert Panel convened to address a series of questions identified by a literature review and personal experience. Issues relating to the diagnosis and management of breast cancer after delivery were outside the scope.

Results: There is a paucity of large and/or randomized studies. Based on cohort studies, case series and case reports, the recommendations represent the best available evidence, albeit of a lower grade than is optimal.

Recommendations: In most circumstances, serious consideration should be given to the option of treating breast cancer whilst continuing with the pregnancy. Each woman should ideally be referred to a centre with sufficient expertise, given a clear explanation of treatment options. Most diagnostic and staging examinations can be performed adequately and safely during pregnancy. Treatment should however be adapted to the clinical presentation and the trimester of the pregnancy: surgery can be performed during all trimesters of pregnancy; radiotherapy can be considered during the first and second trimester but should be postponed during the third trimester; and standard chemotherapies can be used during the second and third trimester. Since neonatal morbidity mainly appears to be related to prematurity, delivery should not be induced before 37 weeks, if at all possible.

Conclusions: The treatment of breast cancer in pregnancy should be executed by experienced specialists in a multidisciplinary setting and should adhere as closely as possible to standard protocols.

Publication types

  • Consensus Development Conference
  • Practice Guideline

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Breast Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Early Detection of Cancer / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Mammography / methods
  • Neoplasm Staging / methods
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Neoplastic / diagnosis*
  • Pregnancy Complications, Neoplastic / therapy*
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Prenatal Care / methods
  • Prenatal Diagnosis / methods


  • Antineoplastic Agents