UMass Chan Medical School Faculty Publications


Lymphoma occurring during pregnancy: antenatal therapy, complications, and maternal survival in a multicenter analysis

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Department of Quantitative Health Sciences

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Adolescent; Adult; Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols; effects; Disease-Free Survival; Female; Fetus; Humans; Kaplan-Meier Estimate; Lymphoma; Pregnancy; Pregnancy Complications, Neoplastic; *Pregnancy Outcome; Retrospective Studies; Treatment Outcome; Young Adult


Female Urogenital Diseases and Pregnancy Complications | Maternal and Child Health | Neoplasms | Obstetrics and Gynecology | Oncology | Women's Health


PURPOSE: Lymphoma is the fourth most frequent cancer in pregnancy; however, current clinical practice is based largely on small series and case reports.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: In a multicenter retrospective analysis, we examined treatment, complications, and outcomes for Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) occurring during pregnancy.

RESULTS: Among 90 patients (NHL, n = 50; HL, n = 40), median age was 30 years (range, 18 to 44 years) and median diagnosis occurred at 24 weeks gestation. Of patients with NHL, 52% had advanced-stage versus 25% of patients with HL (P = .01). Pregnancy was terminated in six patients. Among the other 84 patients, 28 (33%) had therapy deferred to postpartum; these patients were diagnosed at a median 30 weeks gestation. This compared with 56 patients (67%) who received antenatal therapy with median lymphoma diagnosis at 21 weeks (P < .001); 89% of these patients received combination chemotherapy. The most common preterm complication was induction of labor (33%). Gestation went to full term in 56% of patients with delivery occurring at a median of 37 weeks. There were no differences in maternal complications, perinatal events, or median infant birth weight based on deferred versus antenatal therapy. At 41 months, 3-year progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) for NHL were 53% and 82%, respectively, and 85% and 97%, respectively, for HL. On univariate analysis for NHL, radiotherapy predicted inferior PFS, and increased lactate dehydrogenase and poor Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status (ECOG PS) portended worse OS. For HL patients, nulliparous status and "B" symptoms predicted inferior PFS.

CONCLUSION: Standard (non-antimetabolite) combination chemotherapy administered past the first trimester, as early as 13 weeks gestation, was associated with few complications and expected maternal survival with lymphoma occurring during pregnancy.

DOI of Published Version



J Clin Oncol. 2013 Nov 10;31(32):4132-9. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2013.49.8220. Epub 2013 Sep 16. Link to article on publisher's site


Co-author Aimee Kroll-Desrosiers is a doctoral student in the Clinical and Population Health Research Program in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS) at UMass Medical School.

Full author list omitted for brevity. For the full list of authors, see article.

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of clinical oncology : official journal of the American Society of Clinical Oncology

PubMed ID