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Cancer in Pregnancy: Melphalan

Melphalan is an alkylating agent used as an antineoplastic agent. Please see review on mechlorethamine for more information on a related agent.

Setting Treatment Outcomes
Animal studies * We did not find any reproductive animal study on melphalan. Melphalan, as well as chlorambucil induces specific locus and dominant lethal mutations in germ cells of male mice 1.
Study design
Human studies Case report 1st trimester One report of miscarriage in one woman who was treated with melphalan only during the first trimester of pregnancy 2.
Case series pre-pregnancy In a study following 436 survivors treated with chemoterapy for gestational trophoblastic tumors, 15 received melphalan as part of their treatment. Three of these women had at least one live birth and 12 reported supression of ovarian function resulting in amenorrhea 3.
Epidemiological studies No epidemiological studies of congenital anomalies in infants born to women who were treated with melphalan during pregnancy have been reported
* - None of the animal studies reported in this table were conducted at The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, or by Motherisk.


  1. Generoso et al: Dominat lethal and heritable translocation tests with chlorambucil and melphalan in male mice. MutatRes 345: 167-80, 1995.
  2. Zemlickis, D., et al. Fetal outcome after in utero exposure to cancer chemotherapy. Arch Intern Med 152: 573-576,1992.
  3. Rustin GJS, Booth M, Dent J et al:. Pregnancy after cytotoxic chemotherapy for gestational trophoblastic tumors. Br Med J 288:103-6,1984.
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The information on this website is not intended as a substitute for the advice and care of your doctor or other health-care provider. Always consult your doctor if you have any questions about exposures during pregnancy and before you take any medications.

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