- Induction chemotherapy is the first line treatment of cancer with a chemotherapeutic drug. This type of chemotherapy is used for curative intent.
- Combined modality chemotherapy is the use of drugs with other cancer treatments, such as surgery, radiation therapy, or hyperthermia therapy.
- Consolidation chemotherapy is given after remission in order to prolong the overall disease-free time and improve overall survival. The drug that is administered is the same as the drug that achieved remission.
- Intensification chemotherapy is identical to consolidation chemotherapy but a different drug than the induction chemotherapy is used
- Combination chemotherapy involves treating a patient with a number of different drugs simultaneously. The drugs differ in their mechanism and side-effects. The biggest advantage is minimising the chances of resistance developing to any one agent. Also, the drugs can often be used at lower doses, reducing toxicity.
- Neoadjuvant chemotherapy is given prior to a local treatment such as surgery, and is designed to shrink the primary tumor. It is also given to cancers with a high risk of micrometastatic disease.
- Adjuvant chemotherapy is given after a local treatment (radiotherapy or surgery). It can be used when there is little evidence of cancer present, but there is risk of recurrence It is also useful in killing any cancerous cells that have spread to other parts of the body. These micrometastases can be treated with adjuvant chemotherapy and can reduce relapse rates caused by these disseminated cells
- Maintenance chemotherapy is a repeated low-dose treatment to prolong remission.
- Salvage chemotherapy or palliative chemotherapy is given without curative intent, but simply to decrease tumor load and increase life expectancy. For these regimens, in general, a better toxicity profile is expected.
All chemotherapy regimens require that the patient be capable of undergoing the treatment. Performance status is often used as a measure to determine whether a patient can receive chemotherapy, or whether dose reduction is required. Because only a fraction of the cells in a tumor die with each treatment (fractional kill), repeated doses must be administered to continue to reduce the size of the tumor. Current chemotherapy regimens apply drug treatment in cycles, with the frequency and duration of treatments limited by toxicity to the patient.
Common combination chemotherapy regimens
|Breast cancer||Cyclophosphamide, methotrexate, 5-fluorouracil||CMF|
|Hodgkin’s disease||Mustine, vincristine, procarbazine, prednisolone||MOPP|
|Doxorubicin, bleomycin, vinblastine, dacarbazine||ABVD|
|Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma||Cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, prednisolone||CHOP|
|Germ cell tumor||Bleomycin, etoposide, cisplatin||BEP|
|Stomach cancer||Epirubicin, cisplatin, 5-fluorouracil||ECF|
|Epirubicin, cisplatin, capecitabine||ECX|
|Bladder cancer||Methotrexate, vincristine, doxorubicin, cisplatin||MVAC|
|Lung cancer||Cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine,||CAV|
|Colorectal cancer||5-fluorouracil, folinic acid, oxaliplatin||FOLFOX|