The use of two or more drugs is a combination of chemotherapy.

It is a common approach in cancer treatment as it may be more effective than single-drug chemotherapy in certain cancers. It has an increased risk of side effects and drug interactions.

The article explores the benefits and risks of combination chemotherapy.

Chemotherapy refers to medication-based cancer treatments. The goal of chemotherapy is typically to reduce cancer cells or shrink a tumor and prevent cancer from spreading to other parts of the body.

The combination of drugs used to achieve these goals is dependent on the use of at least two different drugs.

It’s not the same as combination therapy for cancer, which refers to the use of two different types of treatment for cancer. This could include combinations like surgery and radiation or chemotherapy and immunotherapy.

The reasoning is the same. The effectiveness of a cancer treatment increases when it is combined with another. This is true for the drugs that target cancer cells.

In addition, using more than one medication decreases the likelihood that cancerous cells will develop resistance to a particular drug, according to 2022 research.

There are many types of drugs that can be used. The medication prescribed by your doctor will be dependent on a number of factors, including the type of cancer you have and how advanced it is.

There are a few examples of combination chemotherapy.

ABVD for Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Combination chemotherapy is a common treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma. There are several possible drug combinations.

According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), the most commonly used regimen in the United States is ABVD, which refers to a combination of:

  • Doxorubicin is aamycin
  • Blenoxane is a drug.
  • vinblastine is a drug.
  • The drug dacarbazine is also known as DTIC-Dome.

BEP for testicular cancer

BEP is a treatment for testicular cancer. It involves three drugs.

The first-line combination of drugs for testicular cancer include EP and VIP. The combination of etoposide and cisplatin is called the EP. The combination of etoposide, ifosfamide, and cisplatin is called the “VIP”.

Combination chemotherapy for small cell lung cancer

Small cell lung cancer can be treated with surgery, radiation therapy, and combination chemotherapy.

Four common combinations of chemotherapy drugs for SCLC include:

  • cisplatin and etoposide are drugs.
  • Carboplatin and etoposide are drugs.
  • cisplatin and irinotecan are used in medicine.
  • Both carboplatin and irinotecan are used for treating asthma.

Depending on the type of cancer, combination chemotherapy may be used.

  • Before primary treatment. This is known as neoadjuvant chemotherapy. It means that chemo is used before the main treatment, like surgery or radiation therapy, to increase the success of the main treatment.
  • After primary treatment. This is known as adjuvant chemotherapy. It takes place after the main treatment, such as surgery to remove a malignant tumor, in an effort to improve the outcome of the primary treatment and prevent the cancer from returning.
  • Together with other treatments. With some types of cancer, like head and neck, lung, and anal cancer, combination chemotherapy may be combined with radiation therapy to help shrink a tumor.
  • As the main treatment. Sometimes, combined chemotherapy is the primary treatment. That means it’s the treatment that is most likely to successfully eliminate cancer.

When a cure isn’t possible, combination chemotherapy can also be used to stop cancer from progressing. In palliative care, it is sometimes used to reduce cancer symptoms.

According to the National Cancer Institute, combination chemotherapy is common in the treatment of many cancers, although some regimens are more established than others.

There are many new combinations of drugs currently being tested.

According to a 2017 review, combination chemotherapy was first proposed in the 1960s for the treatment of lymphocytic leukemia in children. The four-drug treatment, abbreviated as POMP, helped shrink tumors and lengthen the time spent in remission.

Chemo is a critical part of cancer care. The authors of the review report that combination chemotherapy is usually more effective than a single drug.

The ACS also suggests that multiple chemotherapy drugs are more likely to be effective than a single drug.

The effectiveness of combination chemotherapy varies greatly from one type to the next. The effectiveness of the cancer depends on how advanced it is and how it is spread.

Your age and health can affect how well combination chemotherapy works.

In some cases, a single chemotherapy drug is preferable. According to a 2019 review, single-drug chemotherapy may be preferable in the treatment of certain types of metastatic breast cancer due to reduced side effects and similar effectiveness.

Chemotherapeutic drugs have to be aggressive in order to eliminate fast-growing cancer cells. But they are not selective, which means that they can also damage healthy cells.

All of the drugs used in the treatment of cancer have a significant risk of side effects. Common side effects of Chemo include:

It could increase your risk of side effects if you combine it with at least two drugs. The drugs can cause different side effects or amplify the effects that are common.

The side effects of drugs will be dependent on their dose and the drugs you are prescribed. If your doctor suggests a form of combination therapy to treat your cancer, they will review the risks and discuss how to manage them.

Combination chemotherapy is a longstanding form of cancer treatment that involves two or more anticancer drugs. Combination regimens vary from one type of cancer to the next and may be used as primary treatments, neoadjuvant or adjuvant therapies, or combined with other therapies.

There are many different drugs that work differently. Some types of cancer may be treated with two or more drugs.

If you are undergoing combination chemotherapy, your doctor can help you understand the risks and benefits.