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Carboplatin use while Breastfeeding

Drugs containing Carboplatin: Paraplatin, Carboplatin Novaplus

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Sep 22, 2021.

Carboplatin Levels and Effects while Breastfeeding

Summary of Use during Lactation

Most sources consider that mothers receiving antineoplastic therapy should not breastfeed, especially with alkylating agents such as carboplatin.[1] It might be possible to breastfeed safely during intermittent therapy with an appropriate period of breastfeeding abstinence, but the duration of abstinence is not clear. In one case, carboplatin was still detectable in milk 13 days after a dose of 2.9 mg/kg. Monitoring of platinum levels in breastmilk is advised as a guide to breastfeeding resumption.[2] Chemotherapy may adversely affect the normal microbiome and chemical makeup of breastmilk.[3]Women who receive chemotherapy during pregnancy are more likely to have difficulty nursing their infant.[4]

Drug Levels

Maternal Levels. A woman with a history of treatment for thyroid cancer and recurrence during pregnancy was treated postpartum with carboplatin and paclitaxel. Her intravenous carboplatin dose was 233 mg (2.9 mg/kg; AUC 1.5) weekly for 6 weeks. Whole milk samples were obtained at 4, 28, 172, and 316 hours after the dose. The highest milk carboplatin level was 0.9 mg/L in the 4-hour sample and carboplatin was still measurable (0.16 mg/L) in the 317 hour sample. Metabolites were not measured. The authors calculated an average milk carboplatin level over the 316 hour collection period of 0.4 mg/L, resulting in an estimated total infant weight-adjusted daily dose of 2% of the maternal weekly dose.[5] Note that the above estimate of an infant daily dose is expressed as percentage of the maternal weekly dose, and that the authors used a level of zero as the trough milk level, rather than a milk level taken before the sixth dose (which would equal approximately the 172-hour level of 0.25 mg/L), resulting in an underestimate of the AUC and infant dose.

Infant Levels. Relevant published information was not found as of the revision date.

Effects in Breastfed Infants

Relevant published information was not found as of the revision date.

Effects on Lactation and Breastmilk

A telephone follow-up study was conducted on 74 women who received cancer chemotherapy at one center during the second or third trimester of pregnancy to determine if they were successful at breastfeeding postpartum. Only 34% of the women were able to exclusively breastfeed their infants, and 66% of the women reported experiencing breastfeeding difficulties. This was in comparison to a 91% breastfeeding success rate in 22 other mothers diagnosed during pregnancy, but not treated with chemotherapy. Other statistically significant correlations included: 1. mothers with breastfeeding difficulties had an average of 5.5 cycles of chemotherapy compared with 3.8 cycles among mothers who had no difficulties; and 2. mothers with breastfeeding difficulties received their first cycle of chemotherapy on average 3.4 weeks earlier in pregnancy. Of the 3 women who received a regimen containing the similar drug, cisplatin, 1 had breastfeeding difficulties.[4]


Pistilli B, Bellettini G, Giovannetti E, et al. Chemotherapy, targeted agents, antiemetics and growth-factors in human milk: How should we counsel cancer patients about breastfeeding? Cancer Treat Rev. 2013;39:207–11. [PubMed: 23199900]
Johnson HM, Mitchell KB. ABM clinical protocol #34: Breast cancer and breastfeeding. Breastfeed Med. 2020;15:429–34. [PubMed: 32516007]
Urbaniak C, McMillan A, Angelini M, et al. Effect of chemotherapy on the microbiota and metabolome of human milk, a case report. Microbiome. 2014;2:24. [PMC free article: PMC4109383] [PubMed: 25061513]
Stopenski S, Aslam A, Zhang X, et al. After chemotherapy treatment for maternal cancer during pregnancy, is breastfeeding possible? Breastfeed Med. 2017;12:91–7. [PubMed: 28170295]
Griffin SJ, Milla M, Baker TE, et al. Transfer of carboplatin and paclitaxel into breast milk. J Hum Lact. 2012;28:457–9. [PubMed: 23087196]

Substance Identification

Substance Name


CAS Registry Number


Drug Class

Breast Feeding


Antineoplastic Agents

Platinum Compounds

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