A Clinical Conundrum: The Use of Chemotherapy During Pregnancy

December 3, 2020

Cancer in pregnancy accounts for approximately 0.07 to 0.1% of all malignant tumor cases. Although rare, this number is expected to increase as the maternal age of first pregnancy has increased over the past several decades. As humans age, risk for developing cancer increases and as women have over time had children later in life, these two situations have more risk of overlap. The Centers for Disease Control define child-bearing age as 15-44 years old. Due to ethical concerns and diagnostic limitations, evidence and studies aren’t adequate for formal recommendations on how to treat the pregnant cancer patient population. Many studies reporting data regarding pregnant cancer patients are merely retrospective as it would be unethical to do prospective studies and due to the patient population being fairly low. Women of child-bearing age are at risk for certain cancers over others like breast, cervical, lymphoma, leukemia, ovarian, and thyroid. The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) guidelines outline what to use in those cancers however little is known about what can be extrapolated to the pregnant cancer population. There are several considerations that must be factored into the decision of treating pregnant patients such as the urgency of treatment, determining if surgery is an option, which trimester of pregnancy the patient is in, and considering the potential adverse effects of the fetus. This activity will discuss the strategies and limitations of diagnoses, known information of pharmacokinetics in pregnancy of chemotherapy agents, concerns of inadequate treatment in pregnant patients, will review studies of safe chemotherapy in pregnancy or teratogenicity in pregnancy and will provide details regarding what conversations should continuously happen between provider and patient throughout treatment.

Target Audience

  • Pharmacists
  • Pharmacy technicians

Learning Objectives

Pharmacist learning objectives

  1. Discuss the epidemiology of cancer in pregnancy and how these incidences may be on the rise
  2. Review associated terminology, course of pregnancy, and complications of cancer treatment
  3. Determine therapies that should not be utilized for cancer in pregnancy
  4. Evaluate the literature on therapies deemed most safe for pregnant cancer patients

Pharmacy technician learning objectives

  1. Identify brand and generic names of chemotherapeutic agents
  2. Review the hazardous category for storage and safety precautions for handling chemotherapy agents

Additional Information

Course summary
Available credit: 
  • 1.00 ACPE Pharmacist
  • 1.00 ACPE Pharmacy Technician
  • 1.00 General CEU – Attendance
Course opens: 
Course expires: 
Event starts: 
12/03/2020 - 12:00pm CST
Event ends: 
12/03/2020 - 1:00pm CST
Ochsner Medical Center
New Orleans, LA
United States
Relevant financial relationships: Planning committee members and presenters have nothing to disclose
Planning committee members
Breanne Peyton-Thomas, PharmD, BCOP
Clinical Pharmacy Specialist, Bone Marrow Transplant
Ochsner Medical Center
Bailey Wise, PharmD, BCPS
Clinical Pharmacist
Ochsner Medical Center
Amanda Chambers, PharmD
PGY-1 Pharmacy Resident
Ochsner Medical Center
Course reviewer
James Lichauer, PharmD, BCPS, FASHP
PI Program Director, Pharmacy
Amanda Chambers, PharmD
PGY-1 Pharmacy Resident
Ochsner Medical Center
Joint Accreditation Statement:
In support of improving patient care, this activity has been planned and implemented by Vizient, Inc. and Ochsner Medical Center.  Vizient, Inc. is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), to provide continuing education for the healthcare team.
Designation Statements:
Vizient, Inc. designates this activity for a maximum of 1.00 ACPE credit hours.
Universal Activity Number: JA0006103-9999-20-224-L01-P
Universal Activity Number: JA0006103-9999-20-224-L01-T
Vizient, Inc. will award CEUs to each participant who successfully completes this program. The CEU is a nationally recognized unit of measure for continuing education and training programs that meet certain criteria (1 contact hour = 0.1 CEU).

Available Credit

  • 1.00 ACPE Pharmacist
  • 1.00 ACPE Pharmacy Technician
  • 1.00 General CEU – Attendance


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