Removing Two Drugs from BEACOPP Doesn't Change Outcomes

The results of a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology suggest that Hodgkin's lymphoma patients may not have to receive a pair of chemotherapy drugs known to cause serious side effects.

The standard of care in the US for Hodgkin's in terms of chemotherapy is ABVD, but in other parts of the world, the standard is BEACOPP, developed by German researchers. It is an intense regimen, featuring seven drugs, including two from ABVD: bleomycin and vincristine.

In BEACOPP, patients are more likely to discontinue treatment because of one of these two drugs over other reasons because of adverse events or side effects. Among an analysis of 3,309 patients with Hodgkin lymphoma, Bleomycin was discontinued in 17.6 percent of patients and vincristine in 32.6 percent.

This new study suggests that, in BEACOPP, if you remove those two drugs, it doesn't have any effect on overall survival compared to patients who receive all of the drugs.

“Our analysis shows that discontinuation of bleomycin or vincristine was safe in the setting of the HD12 and HD15 trials," wrote study researchers Heinz Haverkamp, of the University Hospital of Cologne, Germany. "However, the reasons for this lack of effect on progression-free and overall survival remain unclear.”

The research team added that in one of the ongoing trials, they replaced the two drugs with Adcetris, and that “First interim results suggest favorable efficacy and tolerability of two modified BEACOPP regimens without bleomycin and vincristine as compared with conventional BEACOPP escalated.”

Source: Cancer Network

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