What Drugs Are Used in Chemotherapy for Lymphoma?

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Several different chemotherapy drugs are used in the treatment of different subtypes of lymphoma, sometimes alone and other times in combination chemotherapy regimens.

The drugs a person receives depend entirely on his or her diagnosis, age and overall health.

Combination chemotherapy regimens are referred to by acronyms, with each letter representing a chemotherapeutic drug. Here we'll look at the drugs frequently used against diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, follicular lymphoma and Hodgkin's lymphoma. You can read more about each of the drugs by clicking on the name of the regimen.

Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma

Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma is the most frequently diagnosed B-cell lymphoma. It has three separate subtypes of its own. It is generally an aggressive disease, and frontline chemotherapy generally results in a cure about 50 percent of the time. There are two chemotherapy regimens and drugs involved in frontline therapy.

The R-CHOP regimen includes:

  • Cyclophosphamide
  • Doxorubicin
  • Oncovin (vincristine)
  • Prednisone
  • Rituxan

The EPOCH regimen includes:

  • Etoposide
  • Prednisone
  • Cyclophosphamide
  • Oncovin (vincristine)
  • Doxorubicin

Follicular Lymphoma

Follicular lymphoma is an indolent B-cell disease. It is sometimes treated with the R-CHOP regimen mentioned above, but that is not used very often against this disease. Sometimes a patient simply receives Rituxan, other times just radiotherapy, and other times nothing at all. There is another two-drug combination being used with greater and greater frequency in indolent B-cell lymphomas: Rituxan plus Treanda (bendamustine).

Hodgkin's Lymphoma

There are three primary combination chemotherapy regimens used in the treatment of most cases of Hodgkin's lymphoma.

The ABVD regimen includes:

  • Adriamycin
  • Bleomycin
  • Vinblastine
  • Dacarbazine

The Stanford V regimen includes:

  • Doxorubicin
  • Vinblastine
  • Mechlorethamine
  • Vincristine
  • Bleomycin
  • Etoposide
  • Prednisone

The BEACOPP regimen includes:

  • Bleomycin
  • Etoposide
  • Adriamycin
  • Cyclophosphamide
  • Oncovin (vincristine)
  • Procarbazine
  • Prednisone

Those are frontline treatments. In the event Hodgkin's recurs in a patient, he or she may receive the antibody drug conjugate Adcetris.

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