Study on the adverse effects following chemotherapy for breast cancer diagnosis during pregnancy: The first case report in China

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Treatment of breast cancer during pregnancy (BCP) remains a challenge to physicians. Surgery and chemotherapy during pregnancy are widely used for the treatment of BCP. Herein, we reported 3 Chinese patients with BCP who underwent chemotherapy during pregnancy and were followed up for adverse effects.

Patient concerns:

Three female patients (case 1, case 2, and case 3) of 37-, 32-, and 28-year-old with breast masses were enrolled. Case 1 had been pregnant for over 4 months, case 2 over 7 months, and case 3 for 7 months. Ultrasound findings revealed a mass in the left breast in cases 1 and 2 (30 mm × 26 mm × 23 mm and 34 mm × 16 mm × 40 mm), and case 3 had 2 masses in the outer upper quadrant of right breast (27 mm × 27 mm × 26 mm, 18 mm × 17 mm × 17 mm) and 2 fixed enlarged lymph nodes in the right axillary fossa, respectively.


All breast masses were diagnosed by core needle biopsy, and the result was infiltrating ductal carcinoma.


Chemotherapy regimen administered during pregnancy was EwP (epirubicin 80 mg/m2, d1 + paclitaxel 80 mg/m2, d1, 8, 15, and cycled every 21 days). During pregnancy, case 1 received 5 cycles, case 2 received 1 cycle, and case 3 received 2 cycles.


Case 2 patient experienced grade III bone marrow suppression once. Electrocardiogram (ECG) result of case 3 showed occasional occurrence of ventricular premature beats, with no complaint of discomfort. All 3 patients experienced uterine contractions, which caused preterm labor in case 2. Adverse events were nausea, hair loss, acid reflux, and constipation. Neonatal jaundice occurred in the premature infant (case 2), which was resolved by phototherapy. No relapse or metastasis was observed in the 3 cases and the infants are growing normally.


Both patients and infants well tolerated the combination chemotherapy of epirubicin and paclitaxel during pregnancy. There were few drug toxicities and adverse effects.

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