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EFFECTS OF CANCER CHEMOTHERAPEUTIC AGENTS ON THE HUMAN FETUS

Joseph E. Sokal, M.D.; Ellen M. Lessmann, M.D.
JAMA. 1960;172(16):1765-1771. doi:10.1001/jama.1960.63020160002008.
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Pregnancy is not a common complication in cancer. When it does occur, it often does not affect greatly the treatment of the malignancy, although it may change the prognosis. Occasionally, however, pregnant women with disseminated malignant disease are seen as candidates for palliative therapy with irradiation or chemotherapeutic agents. In such cases, the presence of the pregnancy may be a major factor in determining the therapy to be given. Although various types of cancer may occur in patients of childbearing age, the subject of cancer chemotherapy during pregnancy has been important principally in the leukemias and lymphomas, so far, since it is in these diseases that chemotherapeutic agents have been most widely used. As the use of chemotherapy is extending to other types of malignancy, however, this problem will become a more general one.

A major factor in reaching decisions regarding therapy in pregnant women is the possibility of producing

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