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发布时间:2019-03-07 14:17:01来源:未知点击:

By Adam Taor ANTICANCER drugs may be causing miscarriages in women who mix and administer them, according to a new analysis of a survey of healthcare professionals in the US. The female partners of men who handle these toxic drugs may also be at risk. The dozens of chemotherapy agents now in use around the world treat cancer by targeting rapidly dividing cells. Researchers suspect they can cause miscarriages either by harming the fetus itself, or by damaging sperm or eggs so that they produce a non-viable embryo, says Barbara Valanis of the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Oregon, who lead the research team. Although hospital staff usually wear gloves and masks when handling these drugs, Valanis suspected that some people would still be exposed: “People are not as careful as they ought to be when handling these drugs,” she says. So miscarriage rates should be higher for more frequent handlers, she reasoned. Valanis and her colleagues compiled drug-handling figures from an extensive survey of healthcare workers at hospitals across the US which was taken in 1989. They compared rates of miscarriage among roughly 2700 women who had mixed or administered anticancer agents or who had cleaned chemotherapy patients’ bedpans. They also looked at miscarriages among several hundred partners of male staff. In all, the groups of workers reported around 7000 pregnancies with 800 miscarriages. As the researchers report in the current Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (vol 41, p 632), women exposed to anticancer drugs during or shortly before pregnancy were 1.5 times more likely to have a miscarriage than women who did not handle drugs around the time of their pregnancy. They also found a weaker correlation among the partners of men who handled the drugs. According to Valanis, staff are not always as cautious as they should be when handling anticancer drugs. They may leave off protective clothing to avoid unnerving the patient, for example. Or they may become careless because it was routine. Howard Mason, a principal scientist at the Health and Safety Laboratory in Sheffield, who is in charge of a series of studies on exposure to anticancer drugs, says although handling practices have improved in Britain—and perhaps in the US as well—since the survey was done there is still reason to believe that pregnant women are being exposed. For instance, a growing number of cancer patients now receive their treatment at home, where there are fewer safe-guards and more non-professional carers. “Obviously we have to be concerned about that,