Which medications are used in the treatment of Hodgkin lymphoma (Hodgkin disease)?

Updated: Sep 12, 2018
  • Author: Bradley W Lash, MD; Chief Editor: Emmanuel C Besa, MD  more...
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Answer

Several chemotherapeutic agents in various combinations are used to treat Hodgkin lymphoma. The combinations vary by the stage of disease and by the treating institution. In patients with relapsing or unresponsive disease, hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation significantly prolongs disease-free survival. Various drug combinations have been used with stem-cell rescue.

Although the intended target is the malignant cells of Hodgkin lymphoma, the effects of chemotherapy on normal cells of the body are considerable and account for the adverse effects observed with these agents. Because most patients with Hodgkin lymphoma are long-term survivors, one of the goals of current therapy is to decrease the long-term adverse effects while maintaining excellent cure rates. The use of different therapeutic agents with nonoverlapping toxicities is one way to achieve this goal. Various combinations of the drugs presented below are used to treat Hodgkin lymphoma .

Although adverse effects vary with each drug, some are common to many drugs. These adverse effects include nausea, vomiting, alopecia, bone marrow suppression, and, less commonly, secondary malignancies.


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