BEAM Chemotherapy: Combination Chemotherapy Regimens

BEAM chemotherapy is an acronym representing a small family of combination chemotherapy regimens that are used chiefly as salvage regimens in the context of Hodgkin's lymphoma that includes dexa-BEAM and mini-BEAM. They are also used as salvage or preparative regimens, some prior to stem cell transplantations.

BEAM Chemotherapy Drugs

The drugs that are in the standard BEAM chemotherapy are:

BCNU (carmustine)
Etoposide
Ara-C (cytarabine)
Melphalan

BEAM chemotherapy is an intense, high-dose six-day regimen that normally unrolls like this:

BEAM Chemotherapy Doses

Day 1: Carmustine (intravenous)
Days 2, 3, 4, 5: Etoposide (intravenous infusion); Cytarabine (intravenous infusion)
Day 6: Melphalan (intravenous)
Day 7: The patient undergoes the scheduled autologous stem cell transplantation

[Technically, the days should be numbered as a countdown; i.e. day 1= day -6, day 2=day -5 and so on until day 7, which equals day 0. I have done the opposite for easier understanding].

Dexa-BEAM Chemotherapy

Dexa-BEAM is an intense salvage chemotherapy regimen. The drugs used are as follows:

Dexamethasone
BCNU (carmustine)
Etoposide
Ara-C (cytarabine)
Melphalan

Dexa-BEAM chemotherapy unfolds as follows:

Cycle length: 28 days
Number of cycles: 2-4
Days 1-10: Dexamethasone (oral)
Day 2: BCNU (carmustine)
Day 3: Melphalan
Days 4-7: Etoposide (IV) & cytarabine (IV)

Mini-BEAM Chemotherapy

Mini-BEAM chemotherapy is a less dose-intense regimen that can be used as salvage chemotherapy or as a preparative regimen for a stem cell transplantation.

Cycle length: 28 days
Number of cycles: 2-4
Day 1: Carmustine
Days 2-5: Etoposide (IV); cytarabine (IV)
Day 6: Melphalan (IV)

If this regimen is used as a preparative regimen for a stem cell transplantation, the transplant would occur on the seventh day.

Sources

Boyiadzis, Michael M. et al. Hematology-Oncology Therapy. New York: McGraw Hill, Medical Publishing Division.

Perry, Michael C, Editor. Companion Handbook to the Chemotherapy Sourcebook. Baltimore; Williams & Wilkins.

Photo: Pexels

More Articles

More Articles

The term NK T cell lymphoma refers to one of two subtypes of lymphoma that affect the NK (Natural Killer)...

Canine lymphoma is a fairly common cancer in American dogs. The most commonly seen lymphoma in America is a type called Lymphosarcoma, although...

Prednisone is a glucocorticosteroid (a steroid) used in the treatment of many types of cancers. It functions as an anti-inflammatory medicine that...

Marginal zone lymphomas (MZL) are indolent lymphomas that affect the B-cells. The...

Large Cell Lymphoma (LCL) is typically an aggressive (fast growing) cancer of either the B cell or T cell type. They are one of the most common...

A B cell is a type of lymphocyte that produces antibodies to fight infections. These are the most prevalent lymphocytes in the bloodstream and are...

Aggressive Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphomas (NHLs) are fast growing cancers (as opposed to indolent cancers). They involve...

A lymphoma prognosis varies greatly depending on the type of lymphoma. There are more than 35 types of lymphoma, including 5 types of...

What causes lymphoma is not well known. DNA mutations may be what causes lymphoma to develop but what triggers these mutations is...

Often the one who makes the first diagnosis of Hodgkin's Lymphoma / Disease is the person affected. There are some...

Lymphedema is abnormal swelling due to the presence of excess lymphatic fluid within the tissues. This swelling occurs when the...

RICE is an acronym for an anti-cancer treatment that expresses a combination chemotherapeutic regimen. This regimen is written variously as "R+ICE...

Hodgkin's Disease—also referred to as Hodgkin's Lymphoma, these are the exact same diseases, just...

Lymphoma is a cancer affecting the white blood cells (lymphocytes) of the body's immune system. The cells begin to grow abnormally and much faster...

Canine lymphoma, just like lymphoma in humans, can be separated into stages,...