Chemotherapy during pregnancy: effect of anthracyclines on fetal and maternal cardiac function

Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2012 Dec;91(12):1465-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0412.2012.01524.x. Epub 2012 Nov 1.


Chemotherapy and especially anthracyclines are associated to cardiotoxicity. To assess this potential risk during pregnancy a clinical case-control trial was conducted. Maternal cardiac function, fetal Doppler and fetal cardiac function were evaluated before and after chemotherapy. Maternal cardiac function was assessed by echocardiography before and after the third cycle of anthracyclines and compared with a control group of 10 non-pregnant women matched for age, type of cancer and anthracycline treatment. Ten fetuses exposed to chemotherapy were compared with 10 control fetuses matched for gestational age and gender. Biometry, amniotic fluid index, fetal Doppler and cardiac function were assessed before and after each cycle of chemotherapy. In all, 108 fetal ultrasounds scans were performed before and after 36 cycles of chemotherapy. Anthracycline exposure did not result in acute maternal and fetal cardiac dysfunction in this small cohort study.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anthracyclines / adverse effects*
  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic / adverse effects*
  • Belgium
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Fetal Heart / diagnostic imaging
  • Fetal Heart / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Cardiovascular / chemically induced*
  • Pregnancy Complications, Cardiovascular / diagnostic imaging
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Prospective Studies
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal


  • Anthracyclines
  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic