Exploring the safety of chemotherapy for treating breast cancer during pregnancy

Matteo Lambertini, Nermine S. Kamal, Fedro A. Peccatori, Lucia Del Mastro, Hatem A. Azim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: The diagnosis of breast cancer during pregnancy (BCP) represents a unique challenge to the patient, her family and the treating physician. The proper management of this critical clinical situation is crucial, and requires a multidisciplinary approach. A proper understanding of the safety of chemotherapy during pregnancy is a vital step to avoid detrimental consequences on the mother and the fetus.Areas covered: The aim of this article is to review the available evidence on the safety of chemotherapy administration in managing BCP.Expert opinion: The rule of thumb of chemotherapy - avoiding first trimester exposure and starting therapy in the second trimester - can be considered applicable for classic agents that are used in managing pregnant breast cancer patients. Anthracycline-based regimens are considered the standard of care in managing BCP. Recently, a growing amount of data suggests the safety of taxanes during pregnancy. Pregnancy in cancer patients should be considered as "high risk": once the systemic treatment is initiated, regular fetal monitoring is highly recommended. Emerging data are available on the relative long-term safety secondary to anthracycline exposure during pregnancy. A continued monitoring of the health of individuals with prenatal exposure to chemotherapy into adulthood is recommended for the possible occurrence of long-term side effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1395-1408
Number of pages14
JournalExpert Opinion on Drug Safety
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2 2015


  • Anthracycline
  • Breast cancer during pregnancy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Fetal and child monitoring
  • Taxanes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)


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