What is PCV Chemotherapy?


Chemotherapy administered as anti-cancer treatment is often done with combinations of drugs. This is known simply as combination chemotherapy. A number of years ago, doctors realized that chemotherapy was more effective against cancer if more than one such drug was administered to the patient, since different chemotherapy drugs tend to do different things in order to kill cancer cells, making the administration of three or four that much more effective in wiping out cancer cells than just one chemotherapy drug.

Acronyms in Chemotherapy

When combinations of chemotherapy drugs begin to be used frequently, doctors and researchers give them acronyms based—generally—on the first letter of the drug name (either the brand name of the drug of the chemical name of the drug). Therefore we have CHOP, ABVD, HyperCVAD, EPOCH, FOLFOX and other familiar combination chemotherapy regimens.

To that end, the combination chemotherapy regimen PCV is no different.

PCV Chemotherapy

PCV combination chemotherapy features the use of the following three chemotherapy drugs:

Historically, this combination chemotherapy regimen dates back to at least 1975 and a study that appeared in the journal Cancer. PCV has generally been used to fight specific types of brain tumors and similar cancers.

For this reason, PCV chemotherapy has a limited role in the treatment of lymphomas. Notably, it is sometimes given to patients who have a very difficult subtype of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma known as primary central nervous system lymphoma, or PCNSL. This is generally a very aggressive subtype of lymphoma with a poor prognosis for long-term survival. PCV chemotherapy has been used against primary CNS lymphoma often as a means of reducing symptoms in these patients but rarely is it regarded as a curative approach to this subtype.

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