But a new study of more than 100 children who were exposed to cancer treatment during the last two trimesters of their mother’s pregnancy showed they had normal cognitive and cardiac function, researchers reported on Monday.
“The main message of this study is that termination of pregnancy is not necessarily warranted, and that early preterm delivery to be able to do cancer treatment isn’t warranted, either,” said Dr. Elyce H. Cardonick, a maternal-fetal specialist at Cooper Medical School of Rowan University in Camden, N.J., who was not involved in the new research.
The study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, was to be presented Monday at the European Cancer Congress in Vienna.
“We didn’t find any difference in cardiac functioning or cognitive function between children exposed to cancer treatment in utero and the control group,” said Dr. Frédéric Amant, the lead author of the study and a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium.
“To some extent, it’s surprising because cancer treatment is quite toxic,” he said, “and we know most chemotherapy drugs cross the placenta.”