Bleomycin in Hodgkin's lymphoma - A boon or a bane? - A retrospective study of bleomycin pulmonary toxicity in Hodgkin's lymphoma

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Introduction: Hodgkin's lymphoma (HL) is one of the most curable malignancies with cure rates of above 85% across all stages. Bleomycin containing regimen is routinely employed in the treatment of HL. Pulmonary toxicity due to this drug is the most feared side effect in these regimens where the mortality rate is approximately 2%-3%. We have conducted this study to assess the genetic susceptibility among the Indian HL patients to bleomycin pulmonary toxicity (BPT). Materials and Methods: In a retrospective study conducted at a tertiary care hospital from South India between January 2013 and May 2019, we reviewed 100 HL patients who were treated with bleomycin-containing regimen (adriamycin, bleomycin, vinblastine, and dacarbazine or cyclophosphamide, vincristine, procarbazine, and prednisone/adriamycin, bleomycin, and vinblastine) for BPT. Results: A total of 100 patients with HL who had received bleomycin-containing regimen were analyzed, which included 23 females and 77 males. Twenty-nine patients had BPT and five deaths were attributed to the same. Radiology reports showed that 15 patients had acute BPT and eight patients had chronic changes. Four patients had rare findings of bleomycin-induced lung damage and computed tomography of the chest could not be done for two patients, whose chest X-ray showed features suggestive of BPT. Conclusion: The incidence of bleomycin induced pulmonary toxicity and mortality was significantly higher in our study compared to that of other Western studies. This could be probably due to the increased susceptibility of the Indian patients to bleomycin induced lung damage. In a highly curable cancer such as HL, it is unacceptable to have such a high life-threating toxicity. Hence, an alternative chemotherapy regimen without bleomycin is to be explored which would prevent toxicity and hence the compromise on survival.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)523-526
Number of pages4
JournalIndian Journal of Palliative Care
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 01-10-2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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