Introduction: Acute leukemia (AL) occurring in pregnancy is extremely rare, and its treatment is a clinical dilemma.
Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the medical records of our hospital from 2010 to 2019.
Results: Twenty-one patients were diagnosed with AL during pregnancy. Of whom, eighteen had acute myeloid leukemia, and 3 had acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Six, eight and seven patients were diagnosed during the first, second, and third trimester, respectively. Six of the 21 patients experienced therapeutic abortion and 1 had spontaneous abortion, whereas 9 gave birth to healthy babies (4 through vaginal deliveries and 5 with Caesarean sections). Four babies had been exposed to chemotherapeutic agents, but no congenital malformations were observed. Sixteen patients received chemotherapy, while 4 patients died before chemotherapy and one was discharged after refusing chemotherapy. The complete remission rate of the 10 patients who began chemotherapy immediately after diagnosis was 80%, compared with 66.7% in the 6 patients who started chemotherapy after abortion or delivery. Three remain alive.
Conclusions: In general, initiation of chemotherapy as early as possible may increase the CR rate. Combined with literature data, we proposed that, for patients diagnosed in early and late stages of pregnancy (>30 weeks), elective termination or induced delivery before chemotherapy may be a good choice for better maternal (and fetal) outcome.KEY MESSAGESAcute leukaemia diagnosed in pregnancy is extremely rare, and its treatment is a clinical dilemma.In general, initiation of chemotherapy as early as possible may increase the CR rate.For patients who are diagnosed in the first trimester or late stage of pregnancy (>30 weeks), elective termination or induced delivery before starting chemotherapy may be a good choice for better maternal (and fetal) outcome.
Keywords: Acute leukaemia; acute lymphoblastic leukaemia; acute myeloid leukaemia; chemotherapy; pregnancy.