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Cancer Health Center

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Adult Hodgkin Lymphoma Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Hodgkin Lymphoma During Pregnancy


In the second half of pregnancy, most patients can be followed carefully and can postpone therapy until induction of delivery at 32 to 36 weeks.[11,14,15] If chemotherapy is mandatory prior to delivery, such as for patients with symptomatic advanced stage disease, vinblastine alone (given at 6 mg/m² intravenously every 2 weeks until induction of delivery) may be considered because it has never been associated with fetal abnormalities in the second half of pregnancy.[14,15] Steroids are employed both for their antitumor effect and for hastening fetal pulmonary maturity. As an alternative, a short course of radiation therapy can be used prior to delivery in cases of respiratory compromise caused by the rapidly enlarging mediastinal mass. Combination chemotherapy with ABVD appears to be safe in the second half of pregnancy.[13] If chemotherapy is required after the first trimester, many clinicians prefer the combination of drugs over single-agent drugs or radiation therapy.

In one study, the 20-year survival rate of pregnant women with HL did not differ from the 20-year survival rate of nonpregnant women who were matched for similar stage of disease, age at diagnosis, and calendric year of treatment.[16] The long-term effects on progeny after chemotherapy in utero are unknown, though present evidence tends to be reassuring.[12,13,14,15,16]


  1. Nicklas AH, Baker ME: Imaging strategies in the pregnant cancer patient. Semin Oncol 27 (6): 623-32, 2000.
  2. Gelb AB, van de Rijn M, Warnke RA, et al.: Pregnancy-associated lymphomas. A clinicopathologic study. Cancer 78 (2): 304-10, 1996.
  3. Koren G, Weiner L, Lishner M, et al.: Cancer in pregnancy: identification of unanswered questions on maternal and fetal risks. Obstet Gynecol Surv 45 (8): 509-14, 1990.
  4. Anselmo AP, Cavalieri E, Enrici RM, et al.: Hodgkin's disease during pregnancy: diagnostic and therapeutic management. Fetal Diagn Ther 14 (2): 102-5, 1999 Mar-Apr.
  5. Mazonakis M, Varveris H, Fasoulaki M, et al.: Radiotherapy of Hodgkin's disease in early pregnancy: embryo dose measurements. Radiother Oncol 66 (3): 333-9, 2003.
  6. Greskovich JF Jr, Macklis RM: Radiation therapy in pregnancy: risk calculation and risk minimization. Semin Oncol 27 (6): 633-45, 2000.
  7. Fisher PM, Hancock BW: Hodgkin's disease in the pregnant patient. Br J Hosp Med 56 (10): 529-32, 1996 Nov 20-Dec 10.
  8. Friedman E, Jones GW: Fetal outcome after maternal radiation treatment of supradiaphragmatic Hodgkin's disease. CMAJ 149 (9): 1281-3, 1993.
  9. Woo SY, Fuller LM, Cundiff JH, et al.: Radiotherapy during pregnancy for clinical stages IA-IIA Hodgkin's disease. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 23 (2): 407-12, 1992.
  10. Lishner M: Cancer in pregnancy. Ann Oncol 14 (Suppl 3): iii31-6, 2003.
  11. Cardonick E, Iacobucci A: Use of chemotherapy during human pregnancy. Lancet Oncol 5 (5): 283-91, 2004.
  12. Thomas PR, Biochem D, Peckham MJ: The investigation and management of Hodgkin's disease in the pregnant patient. Cancer 38 (3): 1443-51, 1976.
  13. Avilés A, Díaz-Maqueo JC, Talavera A, et al.: Growth and development of children of mothers treated with chemotherapy during pregnancy: current status of 43 children. Am J Hematol 36 (4): 243-8, 1991.
  14. Jacobs C, Donaldson SS, Rosenberg SA, et al.: Management of the pregnant patient with Hodgkin's disease. Ann Intern Med 95 (6): 669-75, 1981.
  15. Nisce LZ, Tome MA, He S, et al.: Management of coexisting Hodgkin's disease and pregnancy. Am J Clin Oncol 9 (2): 146-51, 1986.
  16. Lishner M, Zemlickis D, Degendorfer P, et al.: Maternal and foetal outcome following Hodgkin's disease in pregnancy. Br J Cancer 65 (1): 114-7, 1992.

This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

Last Updated: May 28, 2015
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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