Lymphoma diagnosed during pregnancy is a rare occurrence. Further, there is heterogeneity in clinical presentation and a range of lymphoma histologies resulting in a continued deficiency of lymphoma-specific data in the literature regarding prognosis, optimal therapy, maternal complications, and fetal outcome.
A comprehensive retrospective analysis was completed for patients (pts) diagnosed (dx) with Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) or non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) during pregnancy at 9 large U.S. academic centers over a 13-year period (1998–2011). The vast majority of cases were co-managed with high-risk maternal fetal medicine. Data on maternal disease characteristics, treatment details, obstetric complications, and fetal outcomes were analyzed.
88 cases were identified with complete data available in 82. The median age of pts was 31 yrs (18–40). Lymphoma dx occurred at a median of 24 weeks (wks) gestation (5–40). 15% of pts were dx during the 1st trimester, 46% during the 2nd trimester, 35% during the 3rd trimester, while 4% (n=3) of pts had a pre-existing NHL dx (follicular lymphoma (FL)). 52% (n=43) of pts had NHL and 48% (n=39) HL. Of NHL cases, 83% (n=33) were B-cell and 17% (n=10) T-cell. B-cell histologies were DLBCL n=23 (including 2 primary CNS and 1 'double hit' NHL), FL n=5 (including 1 leukemic phase FL), Burkitt's lymphoma n=3, and mixed histology n=1; T-cell histologies were anaplastic large cell n=6, PTCL not otherwise specified n=2, and T-cell/NK NHL n=2. Pts with B-cell NHL and HL were dx at a median age of 29 yrs (range, 18–40), while T-cell NHL pts were dx at a median of 34 years (19–37). MRI without gadolinium was the most common imaging modality utilized for staging. 63% of NHL and 19% of HL pts had stage III/IV disease (25% of HL with stage IIB). Pregnancy was terminated in 6 pts (n=4 aggressive NHL and n=2 HD) to enable immediate chemotherapy (five in the 1st trimester [at 5, 8, 10, 10, and 12 wks] and 1 pt in the early 2nd trimester who required high-dose methotrexate). 48 pts (63%) initiated anti-lymphoma therapy at a median of 25 wks gestation (range, 13–37) with 79% of pts initiating therapy in the 2nd trimester (see Table 1). The median gestation at time of lymphoma dx for pts who received intra-partum treatment was 20 wks vs 34 wks for pts who had therapy deferred to post-delivery (p<0.0001). The overall response rate among pts who received therapy was 87% (74% complete remission). Notably, gestation went to full-term in 54% with delivery occurring at a median of 37 wks (31–40). Therapy was deferred until post-delivery in 28 pts (37%) and the majority of these pregnancies were also carried to term (median delivery at 38 wks). At a median follow-up of 41 months (6–157), the 3-year PFS and OS for all pts were 79% and 89% respectively. Histology-specific 3-year PFS and OS were: B-cell NHL: 73% and 82%, respectively; T-cell NHL: 50% and 90%, respectively; and HL: 90% and 95%, respectively (Figure 1). Detailed obstetrical information was available in 59 pts. There were minimal pre-term complications, the most common being induction of labor in 45%. Perinatal events included spontaneous rupture of membranes in 5% and pre-eclampsia in 8%. Further, there were no differences in these events detected among pts who received intra-partum treatment vs deferred therapy. No episodes of chorioamnionitis or endometritis were noted. There was 1 stillbirth that occurred at 19 wks gestation in a 34-year-old pt with double-hit NHL following 1 cycle of R-CHOP. The median birth weight of infants was 2427 grams (1005–5262) with no difference among pts who received intra-partum chemotherapy vs not (2637 grams vs 2212 grams, respectively; p=NS). Microcephaly was reported in 1 case following 4 intra-partum cycles of CHOP for DLBCL; there were otherwise no malformations detected.
To our knowledge, this represents one of the largest experiences reported of lymphoma in pregnancy. Our data show that standard NHL and HL chemotherapeutic regimens (without anti-metabolites) administered during the 2nd and 3rd trimester, including as early as 13 wks gestation in select cases, is associated with minimal maternal complications or fetal detriment. In addition, pts with low risk clinical scenarios (e.g., indolent NHL and/or late gestational dx) had therapy safely deferred to post-partum. In our experience, this approach was associated with overall expected lymphoma-related survival.
No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.
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