Consolidation Chemotherapy

Consolidation chemotherapy is usually given to cancer patients in order to sustain remission. After the chemotherapy treatment is over, there are chances that a few cancer cells might be left behind in the body of the patients, which go undetected in the various diagnostic tests conducted. In order to kill these cancer cells, the patients are given consolidation therapy.
This kind of treatment can involve stem cell transplant, treatment with chemotherapy drugs or even radiation. Consolidation chemotherapy is usually given after the induction therapy. Not all the patients can undergo consolidation therapy.
The health care provider usually assesses whether the patients have actually achieved the required remission, only after that they are given consolidation chemotherapy. It is usually a very intense kind of therapy. It can be given for the treatment for ovarian cancer or any other type of cancer. It is also used in leukemia chemotherapy.

The Acute Myelogenous Leukemia is the cancer of the bone marrow and the blood. Consolidation Chemotherapy In this type cancer, the growth rate of the cancerous cells is very high. When an individual is suffering from this type of cancer, the number of white blood cells in the body become very low. The main function of the white blood cells is to fight against infections. Abnormal growth of the red blood cells is generally seen in the patients suffering from this disease. Hence, the consolidation chemotherapy is used for the treatment of this cancer.

Consolidation chemotherapy for leukemia  is used for the older patients who have been affected by this dreadful disease. This type of chemotherapy is usually aimed at destroying the cancerous cells.

Symptoms of Acute Myelogenous Leukemia

The common symptom that an Acute Myelogenous Leukemia patient suffers from is weakness. Acute Myelogenous LeukemiaAs the white blood cells are less in number the cells are unable to fight the infections. This leads to an increase in the infectious cells in the patient’s body. The red blood cells help in carrying the oxygen in different parts of the body. Thus the oxygen is unable to reach all the parts of the body. This leads to fatigue and tiredness.

Consolidation Chemotherapy: a Method for Treating AML

A patient suffering from Acute Myelogenous Leukemia also suffers from anemia as a number of healthy blood cells are less in number. The person suffers from breathlessness and turns pale. Less number of platelets causes bleeding and thus the person has tiny red spots all over the body. If the unhealthy cells are more, then frequent pains are experienced in the joints. Though children are also affected by this disease but the percentage is negligible. Consolidation chemotherapy helps a person to fight these conditions.

Patients are said to have Acute Myelogenous Leukemia or ALL when tests show that the leukemia cells present in the blood as well as bone marrow samples are much more than the normal levels. A diagnosis is done to find out the location of these cells in the body; for this purpose, an ultrasound test of the abdomen is also carried out. By doing the lumbar puncture, the doctors try to determine if the area around the brain and spinal cord have these abnormal cells. If the diagnosis reveals the presence of any abnormal cells, then consolidation chemotherapy is  considered as the only option of treatment in such cases.
Some of the drugs used for consolidation chemotherapy are as follows:

  •     Ara-C
  •     Anthracyclene like daunorubicin or idarubicin
  •     Etoposide
  •     ATRA (all-trans retonic acid)
  •     Antimetabolite drugs such as methotrexate and 6-mercaptopurine (6-MP)
  •     Cytarabine
  •     Amsacrine

The side effects of consolidation treatment are the same as that of other chemotherapy drugs. These include nausea and vomiting, hair loss, fatigue, mouth ulcers, low blood counts and so on. So these patients need the same amount of intensive care as is required for the other patients undergoing treatment for cancer chemotherapy.
The patients are given several cycles of chemotherapy that can last anywhere from six to nine months. The patients may or may not require hospitalization during the treatment. This would depend on the type of drug used for the treatment. Those who are given treatment as inpatients have to be hospitalized for three to four days. However, in many patients the response rate is better when consolidation chemotherapy is given as compared to those who undergo only chemotherapy treatment.