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Sexually transmitted anticancer drugs.

Sexually transmitted anticancer drugs

Cyclophosphamide, a widely used anticancer and immunosuppressivedrug, not only can be shared between sexual partners via a male's semen but also may endanger a very early-term embryo, according to an animal study conducted at McGill University in Montreal. Administering the drug to male rats just a few hours prior to mating doubled the rate of pre-implantation embryo losses relative to rats not receiving the drug, according to a report by Barbara Hales, Susan Smith and Bernard Robaire in the July TOXICOLOGY AND APPLIED PHARMACOLOGY. Since human embryos implant in the uterine wall within a week of conception, Hales says, a woman might miscarry even before she knew she was pregnant.

The rats' one-time dose of cyclophosphamide was high, theresearchers acknowledge--comparable to about 50 times the dose a human might receive it taking the drug daily. However, Hales notes, in some instances humans are given a single, large dose of this drug. And in those cases, she says, the human dose might be comparable to what was used in this study.

Follow-up work in this area has concentrated on looking forreproductive hazards that might be associated with chronic, low-dose paternal exposure to the drug. So far, the effects--which can be severe--seem to depend on when in the sperm's development exposure to the chemical occurred. however, the primary hazard associated with chronic exposures seems to show up later in the pregnancy. In some cases, Hales says, "up to 80 percent of the implanted embryos die."
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Title Annotation:cyclophosphamide may endanger early-term embryo
Publication:Science News
Date:Aug 16, 1986
Words:247
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