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25

NCCN Guidelines for Patients

®

:

Brain Cancer – Gliomas, Version 1.2016

2

Test and treatment overview

Chemotherapy

Receiving chemotherapy

The way chemotherapy is received differs among the

drugs. Some are liquids that are injected into a vein.

Others are made as pills. One drug, carmustine, is

also made as a wafer. Your medical neuro-oncologist

will discuss your options with you. A medical neuro-

oncologist is a doctor who’s an expert in treating

tumors in the nervous system.

Liquid chemotherapy travels in your bloodstream

to treat cancer throughout your body. Likewise,

chemotherapy pills dissolve in your stomach and

enter your bloodstream. Doctors use the term

“systemic” when talking about a cancer treatment for

the whole body.

Systemic chemotherapy is given in cycles of

treatment days followed by days of rest. The cycles

vary in length depending on which drugs are used.

Common cycles are 14, 21, or 28 days long. Giving

chemotherapy in cycles gives your body a chance

to recover after receiving chemotherapy. If you will

have chemotherapy, ask your doctor how many

cycles and days of treatment there are within a cycle.

Some treatments can be placed in the nervous

system where there is cancer. Doctors call this “local

delivery.” Carmustine wafers are placed into the

brain within the space left by the removed tumor. Up

to 8 wafers may be used. They dissolve over time.

Carmustine wafers treat cancer cells that may remain

in the normal-looking tissue that surrounded the

tumor.

Side effects of chemotherapy

Side effects of chemotherapy depend on many

factors. These factors include the drug, amount

taken, length of treatment, and the person. Some

people have many side effects. Others have few.

Some side effects can be very serious while others

can be unpleasant but not serious. Most side effects

Guide 2. Drug treatment for gliomas

Generic name

Brand name (sold as)

Type of treatment

Bevacizumab

Avastin

®

Targeted therapy

Carboplatin

Chemotherapy

Carmustine

BiCNU

®

Chemotherapy

Carmustine implant

GLIADEL

®

Wafer

Chemotherapy

Cisplatin

Platinol

®

Chemotherapy

Cyclophosphamide

Chemotherapy

Etoposide; Etoposide phosphate Etopophos

®

Preservative Free

Chemotherapy

Irinotecan hydrochloride

Camptosar

®

Chemotherapy

Lomustine

CeeNU

®

Chemotherapy

Procarbazine hydrochloride

Matulane

®

Chemotherapy

Temozolomide

Temodar

®

Chemotherapy

Vincristine sulfate

Chemotherapy