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October/November 2014 (vol. 11/3)

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Research Plus

Antineoplastic drugs

Healthcare workers with long-term exposure to antineoplastic drugs though inhalation and skin absorption are at increased risk of some adverse reproductive outcomes, though effect sizes are relatively small or uncertain, this review finds. Meta-analyses identified a 46% increased risk of miscarriage (CI 11%–92%) but no significant raised risk for all congenital abnormalities combined (crude odds ratio = 1.64; CI 0.91–2.94). Two included studies found an association between drug exposure and subfertility (time to pregnancy in one and infertility in the other) but with relatively small raised risks. There were insufficient numbers of exposed cases for any conclusions on stillbirth. Eighteen studies met inclusion criteria; limitations included a lack of recent occupational exposure and outcomes data and small sample sizes. 

Connor TH, Lawson CC et al. Reproductive Health Risks Associated With Occupational Exposures to Antineoplastic Drugs in Health Care Settings: A Review of the Evidence. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2014; 56(9): 901–910.  

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Occupational Health at Work October/November 2014 (vol. 11/3) pp45