Induction Chemotherapy

Multiple myeloma is a type of cancer that originates from plasma cells, an immensely important part of the immune system of the body. Induction ChemotherapyThese are the cells that resist the harmful germs and substances and also fight diseases by producing proteins called antibodies. In multiple myeloma, the growth of plasma cells goes out of control in the bone marrow and the cells get clotted resulting into tumors in solid bone. The growth of these excessive cells is a major hindrance for the bone marrow to produce red and white blood cells and platelets. This may lead to anemia making the body prone to germ infections and causing frequent bleeding. Generally old people suffer from it.

Patients being given radiation therapy are likely to get multiple myeloma as a major side effect Patients suffering from multiple myeloma go through a number of chemotherapy regimens which is mainly conventional chemotherapy, salvage therapy and transplantation of stem cell or high dose chemotherapy. Conventional chemotherapy is also known as the chemotherapy involving standard doses. It includes regimens and chemo therapeutic agents which have been used for fifteen to forty years. Some cancer affected people would receive conventional therapy as the only treatment.

When before the transplantation of stem cells, conventional therapy is applied, it is known as induction chemotherapy. The main aim of this therapy is to lessen the burden of tumor before the transplant takes place. There are a few drugs, which are important for this therapy than the other drugs. This is due to the reason that some agents in the drugs have less toxicity in the bone marrow cells than the others. This results in more stem cells emerging from the bone marrow. The instances of chemotherapy drugs for the induction therapy are the multiple myeloma drugs called dexamethasone, vincristine, Ortho-Biotech, doxorubicin, DVd, VAD, cyclophosphamide, dexamethasone, thalidomide and methasone.

Induction Chemotherapy Treatment

The induction chemotherapy is given in cycles. There are rest periods and treatment periods alternating. During the treatment cycles more and more tumor cells are exposed to treatment. The reset periods help the patients to recover from the side effects of chemotherapy. This type of chemotherapy is mainly administered for six to twelve months until a patient achieves a stable state. When this treatment is an induction therapy generally three to four cycles are given before the stem cells are collected. After the cells are collected the patient may continue with the chemotherapy till they reach a plateau state. In some cases the transplant is reserved for multiple myeloma relapse.

For the treatment of multiple myeloma, corticosteroids are sometimes used and the most common form of induction therapy is the treatment with Dexamethasone a very commonly used corticosteroid. The use of VAD is increasing. A recent research has show that Thal-dex has a higher response than VAD when the drug is used as an initial drug for therapy. New chemotherapy agents and regimen are also researched on for multiple myeloma chemotherapy treatment.

Chemotherapy is generally associated with a lot of side effects. This is because the chemotherapy drugs are not only toxic to the cancer cells but also to the other cells. This includes the cells in the intestines, the stomach, the hair follicles, and the bone marrow and so on. The counts in the blood cell decreases due to chemotherapy and there is hair loss, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and other associated sickness. The side effects resulting from chemotherapy are varied and this depends on the stage of the disease, the physical condition of the patient and the chemotherapy regimen that is usually followed.