Chemotherapy uses anticancer, or cytotoxic, drugs to destroy cancer cells. It is usually used to treat childhood Hodgkin lymphoma (HL). When planning treatment, the healthcare team will consider the type of HL, stage, size (bulkiness) of the tumour and risk group, as well as your child’s personal needs. Based on this information they will plan the drugs, doses and schedules of chemotherapy. Your child may also receive other treatments.
Chemotherapy is given to destroy cancer cells in the body. It is usually a systemic therapy. This means that the drugs travel through the bloodstream to reach and destroy cancer cells all over the body, including those that may have broken away from the primary tumour.
The drugs may be given by mouth or by a needle in a vein (called intravenous injection). Sometimes a special device called a central venous catheter (tube) may be used to safely give the drugs. It is usually placed in the operating room at the start of chemotherapy and left in place until treatment is finished. Find out more about central venous catheter.
The most common chemotherapy drugs used to treat childhood HL are:
These drugs are usually given in combination to treat childhood HL. When different drugs are given together, they are more effective than any single drug alone.
cyclophosphamide, vincristine, prednisone and procarbazine hydrochloride
cyclophosphamide, vincristine, prednisone and dacarbazine
doxorubicin, bleomycin, vinblastine and dacarbazine
vincristine, prednisone, procarbazine hydrochloride and doxorubicin
cyclophosphamide, vincristine, procarbazine hydrochloride and prednisone with doxorubicin, bleomycin and vinblastine
vincristine, etoposide, prednisone and doxorubicin
vincristine, doxorubicin, methotrexate and prednisone
doxorubicin, bleomycin, vincristine and etoposide
doxorubicin, bleomycin, vincristine and etoposide with prednisone and cyclophosphamide
bleomycin, etoposide, doxorubicin, cyclophosphamide, vincristine, prednisone and procarbazine hydrochloride
If childhood HL does not respond to drugs used in earlier treatments or if it recurs (comes back), other drugs that may be used are:
The following websites have information about specific drugs used to treat cancer in children.