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28

NCCN Guidelines for Patients

®

Peripheral T-cell Lymphoma, Version 1.2016

3

Overview of cancer treatments Steroids | Immunomodulators

Steroids

Corticosteroids are called steroids for short. They

are a type of drug that is often used to relieve

inflammation. Steroids also are toxic to lymphoma

cells and therefore have strong anti-cancer effects.

Steroids used to treat peripheral T-cell lymphoma are

listed in Chart 3.1.

Steroids are a part of some chemotherapy regimens.

They are given on the same days as chemotherapy

but only for a few days or a week. Prednisone

is made in pill form but dexamethasone and

methylprednisolone are made both as a liquid to be

injected or a pill to be swallowed.

Most side effects of steroids fade away once the

drugs are stopped. Common side effects include

feeling hungry, trouble sleeping, mood changes, slow

wound healing, upset stomach, and swelling in the

ankles, feet, and hands.

Immunomodulators

The immune system is your body’s natural defense

against illness. Immunomodulators are drugs

that modify different parts of the immune system.

Lenalidomide is an immunomodulator used to treat

peripheral T-cell lymphoma if first-line treatment fails

or the cancer returns.

Lenalidomide is made in pill form. It is given in cycles

of treatment days followed by days of rest. A cycle

may consist of 3 weeks of treatment and 1 week of

rest. It may also be given for 4 straight weeks. Cycles

may repeat until the cancer grows or side effects

become severe.

Lenalidomide treats cancer in more than one way. As

an immunomodulator, it boosts the immune system.

It also helps stop cancer cells from increasing in

number. Third, it also works like a type of targeted

therapy called angiogenesis inhibitors. These drugs

stop the growth of new blood vessels that would

provide food (nutrients) to the cancer.

Common side effects include low blood counts,

diarrhea, itching, rash, and severe tiredness despite

sleep (fatigue). Serious but less common side effects

include blood clots, bleeding disorders, loss of vision,

and skin cancer. Ask your treatment team for a full list

of side effects.