Maternal survival of patients with pregnancy-associated cancers in Taiwan – A national population-based study

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Pregnancy-associated cancer (PAC), defined as cancers diagnosed during pregnancy or the first year after delivery, affects one to two in every 1000 pregnancies. Although PAC is expected to be a growing issue, information about PAC in the Asian population is still scarce. Women with cancer diagnosed at the age of 16–49 years between 2001 and 2015 were selected from the Taiwan Cancer Registry and linked with the National Birth Reporting Database to identify PAC patients. We compared the overall survival of patients with PAC to patients without pregnancy. Among 126,646 female cancer patients of childbearing age, 512 were diagnosed during pregnancy, and 2151 during the first postpartum year. Breast cancer was the most common PAC (N = 755, 28%). Compared with patients without pregnancy in the control group, patients with cancers diagnosed during pregnancy and the first postpartum year generally had more advanced stages (odds ratio 1.35 and 1.36, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.02–1.77 and 1.18–1.57, respectively). For all cancer types combined and controlled for the stage, age, and year of diagnosis, patients with PAC had similar overall survival with those in the control group, with a hazard ratio (HR) of 1.07 (95% CI 0.80–1.41) for the pregnancy group and HR 1.02 (95% CI 0.88–1.18) for the postpartum group. The diagnosis of breast cancer during the first postpartum year was linked with shorter survival (HR 1.34, 95% CI 1.05–1.72). In contrast, patients with postpartum lymphoma (HR 0.11, 95% CI 0.02–0.79) and cervical cancer (HR 0.40, 95% CI 0.20–0.82) had better prognosis. In general, the diagnosis of cancer during pregnancy or the first postpartum year does not affect the survival of patients with most cancer types. Exceptions include the worse prognosis of postpartum breast cancer and the better outcome of postpartum lymphoma and cervical cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9431-9444
Number of pages14
JournalCancer medicine
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Dec

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research

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