The prevalence of pregnant patients with cancer is on the rise in the United States, and these patients have a significantly increased risk of poor outcomes, according to data published in JAMA Oncology.

Researchers found that the prevalence of pregnancy with cancer increased 13.8% from 2016 to 2019. 

In addition, pregnant patients with cancer had significantly higher risks of severe maternal morbidity and death during their hospital stay, when compared with non-cancer patients. 

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To uncover these findings, researchers conducted a population-based study using data from the National Inpatient Sample. The data included more than 14.6 million deliveries from January 2016 through December 2019. 

The prevalence rate of pregnancy with cancer was 69.3 cases per 100,000 deliveries. The prevalence increased from 64.5 cases per 100,000 deliveries in 2016 to 73.4 per 100,000 in 2019 (P <.001). 

The most common cancer types recorded were breast cancer, lymphoma, leukemia, and gynecologic cancers. Over the period studied, there was an increased incidence of cancers of the skin, soft tissue, breast, and oral cavity/pharynx. 

The researchers compared outcomes of patients with and without cancer. After accounting for potential mediators between cancer and adverse outcomes, the data showed that patients with cancer were more likely to experience severe maternal morbidity and death during the index hospital stay for delivery.

The prevalence of severe maternal morbidity was 97.4 per 1000 deliveries among cancer patients and 17.3 per 1000 deliveries among non-cancer patients (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 3.63; 95% CI, 3.42-3.84). 

The prevalence of death during the hospital stay for delivery was 2.2 per 1000 deliveries among cancer patients and less than 0.1 per 1000 deliveries among non-cancer patients (aOR, 13.34; 95% CI, 8.72-20.39). 

The researchers noted several limitations to this study, including a lack of information on cancer stage, anticancer treatment, and disease status at the time of delivery. In addition, the dataset did not include information on the cause of death, oncologic outcomes, neonatal outcomes, or information after discharge.

Disclosures: This research was supported by Ensign Endowment for Gynecologic Cancer Research. Some study authors declared affiliations with biotech, pharmaceutical, and/or device companies. Please see the original reference for a full list of disclosures.


Matsuo K, Klar M, Youssefzadeh AC, et al. Assessment of severe maternal morbidity and mortality in pregnancies complicated by cancer in the US. JAMA Oncol. Published online June 16, 2022. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2022.1795