|Year : 1997 | Volume
| Issue : 6 | Page : 347-353
Enhanced Toxicity Potential of a Regimen on Addition of Doxorubicin in Combination Chemo-therapy
A M Vimala
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
A comparative study of cutaneous toxicities of two different commonly used combination chemotherapeutic regimens was conducted on 16 patients of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. The common drugs in the two regimens were cyclophosphamide, vincristine and prednisone. One of the regimens which was administered to 10 patients, included doxorubicin as an additional drug. This combination is preferred in high grade malignancy. However, the addition of doxorubicin resulted in enhanced severity and multiplicity of cutaneous manifestations. If it is possible to choose between two or more regimens for a given malignancy, the risk-benefit ratio can be weighed to choose the appropriate and least toxic drugs.
Keywords: Doxorubicin, Lymphoma, Cutaneous toxicity
|How to cite this article:|
Vimala A M. Enhanced Toxicity Potential of a Regimen on Addition of Doxorubicin in Combination Chemo-therapy. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol 1997;63:347-53
|How to cite this URL:|
Vimala A M. Enhanced Toxicity Potential of a Regimen on Addition of Doxorubicin in Combination Chemo-therapy. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol [serial online] 1997 [cited 2019 Oct 17];63:347-53. Available from: http://www.ijdvl.com/text.asp?1997/63/6/347/4615
Cancer chemotherapeutic agents kill or impair susceptible tumour cells by blocking a drug sensitive biochemical or metabolic pathway. Safe use of chemotherapeutic drugs requires an appropriate route and schedule of administration. Determination of the drugs, their combinations, safe dosage range, an awareness of the side effects that are likely to result and knowledge of drug interactions would minimize the toxicity and maximize favourable response. Each of these factors should be considered in developing a protocol for chemotherapy.
The principles that are followed in the selection of drugs in effective combinations are : (a) only drugs known to be partially effective, when used alone, are selected for use in the combination. The drugs should be preferably those that produce some fraction of complete remission. (b) The drug should be selected on the basis of toxicity that does not overlap with the toxicity of other drugs to be used in combination. Such selection leads to a wider range of side effects. For example metabolite formation  (c) Drug combinations should be given at constant intervals. The treatment free interval between cycles should be the shortest possible time necessary for recovery of the most sensitive normal target tissue, usually the bone marrow.  Based on the results of investigations by numerous workers from different parts of the world, recommendations on specific drug combinations, schedules and routes of administration have been given. , Doxorubicin (Adriamycin) is an anthracycline antibiotic with an almost identical structure to daunorubicin. These compounds have a planar anthraquinone nucleus attached to an amino sugar. They have a wide range of antibacterial and anti tumour activities. Doxorubicin is used to treat solid tumours, such as carcinoma of the breast, lung, thyroid and ovary, and soft tissue sarcomas. This study was conducted to compare the cutaneous toxicities of two different commonly used combination chemotherapeutic. regimens recommended by Burkert H and Herdrich K (1992) , for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
| Materials and Methods|| |
The study was conducted at the Department of Dermatology and Department of Radiation and Oncology, Kasturba Medical College, Mangalore during the period 1995 to 1997. Sixteen patients were selected for the study. All of them were confirmed cases of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Ten of them were administered the drug combination comprising of cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine and prednisone (CHOP). The remaining 6 patients were administered the drug combination comprising of cyclophosphamide, vincristine and prednisone (COP). The two drug combinations were administered in the following dosages:
CHOP : Cyclophosphamide 750 mg/m 2 i.v. day 1, Vincristine 1.4 mg/m 2 (max. dose 2 mg) day 1, Doxorubicin 50 mg/m 2 i.v. day 1, Prednisone 150mg p.o., days 1-5, to be repeated every 2 or 3 weeks.
COP: Cyclophosphamide 650 mg/m 2 I.V. day 1, Vincristine 1.4 Mg/M2 i.v. day 1, Prednisone 40 mg/m 2 p.o. days 1-5, to be repeated every 3 or 4 weeks.
None of the patients were receiving radiotherapy while on chemotherapy. The patients studied were not receiving any other medication which could have caused similar cutaneous manifestations as observed in the present study.
A comprehensive clinical history, general physical examination, systemic examination and detailed dermatological examination were carried out in all the patients. Relevant investigations were done for each of the patients and the details noted. Dermatological examination was done both prior to and during the chemotherapy. The investigations comprised of tests required for detection and confirmation of the malignancy and for monitoring the patient's condition during chemotherapy. The manifestations studied were those affecting the skin, mucous membrane, hair and nails. The pigmentary changes of skin, mucous membrane and nails were graded as : (i) Mild - light grey, light brown (ii) Moderate - dark grey, dark brown (iii) severe - black
In case of scalp alopecia the grading was, (i) Mild - no appreciable loss of hair clinically, history of significant loss of hair, (ii) Moderate - clinically appreciable loss of hair (less than 50 percent of scalp involvement), (iii) Severe - More than 50 percent scalp involvement. The loss of body hair was also recorded.
Follow up studies were carried out on the patients when they reported for successive treatment cycles for administration of the drugs on an inpatient / out patient basis.
| Results|| |
The cutaneous manifestations observed in the two groups of patients under CHOP and COP regimens are presented in [Table 1]. CHOP regimen, which was administered to 10 patients was associated with 100 percent morbidity this regimen was found to be associated with occurrence of alopecia, glossitis, mucositis, pigmentation of skin and nail, phlebitis, pruritus, exaggerated response to insect bites, oral candidiasis and Muehrcke lines (transverse white lines . on the nails). The administration of CHOP regimen was associated with the darkening of palmar creases and hyperpigmentation of palms and soles. Seven of the patients on CHOP regimen manifested nail pigmentation. The CHOP regimen was also associated with varying degrees of severity of alopecia.
COP regimen was administered to 6 patients, only 2 of them developed cutaneous manifestations in the form of alopecia, pruritus, glossitis and Muehrcke lines. COP regimen caused only mild or moderate alopecia. No skin or oral pigmentation was observed in patients on COP regimen. One of the patients in COP regimen manifested with Muehrcke lines.
| Discussion|| |
The present study was an effort to compare the cutaneous manifestations resulting from the administration of two commonly used combination chemotherapeutic drugs, in which the drugs common to both the regimens were cyclophosphamide, vincristine and prednisone. Among the two, the CHOP regimen contained doxorubicin as an additional drug.
The side effects resulting from the above 2 regimens reveal that the introduction of doxorubicin enhances the toxicity potential of the regimen. This is further confirmed from the observation that all the 10 patients who were on CHOP regimen had cutaneous manifestations, while only 2 out of the 6 patients on COP regimen developed side effects immediately after the first treatment cycle. The remaining 2 patients on CHOP regimen manifested after the second treatment cycle. The observation in our study are, in general in conformity with those of earlier workers on the administration of doxorubicin in cancer chemotherapy. Many workers have reported that the administration of the doxorubicin caused dark pigmentation of nails including pigmented nail bands. ,,,
Pigmentation of the tongue and buccal mucosa, localized pigmentation of the palms, soles and axillae as well as pigmentation along palmar or digital creases have been reported with the use of doxorubicin.  Abnormalities of nail including acute paronychia, reversible onycholysis,  and onychodystrophy have been seen with the use of doxorubicin.  Mucositis has been reported as a side effect of doxorubicin. It has been implicated in the production of a peculiar localized urticarial reaction occurring over infused veins. , White lines on the finger nails induced by combination chemotherapy which included doxorubicin was reported by Shetty.  Transverse striate leukonychia, a manifestation of nail matrix injury resulting in a disturbance of nail plate keratinization has been reported as a result of combination chemotherapy which included doxorubicin. The leukonychia is believed to result from the formation of air pockets or the retention of nuclei within the nail plate. ,, Extravasation of doxorubicin into skin and soft, tissue causes necrosis and ulceration which may become chronic.  Cutaneous manifestations distant from the site of injection such as alopecia, urticaria, angioneurotic edema, hyperpigmentation, stomatitis and skin reaction at the site of infiltration have been reported, following the use of this anti tumour agent, ,,, Squamous syringometaplasia has also been observed.  Radiation recall has been reported in association with administration of doxorubicin . Local necrosis following extravasation is seen following doxorubicin administration ,.
The relative toxicities of various chemotherapeutic drugs, individually or in combination, must be taken into account when choosing treatment regimens for a given malignancy. The risk-benefit ratio can be weighed to choose the appropriate and least toxic drugs. If the physician is alerted to impending complications, the morbidity of the disease can be reduced considerably. This can ensure a better quality of life for patients in the limited span of life available to them.
| Acknowledgement|| |
The authors are grateful to Dr. Dinesh M and Dr Sanat Kumar Hegde of the Department of Radiation and Oncology, Kasturba Medical College, Attavar, Mangalore for the valuable help extended by them during the study.
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