Chemotherapy encompasses a wide variety of therapy treatments. Terms such
as "adjuvant," "neoadjuvant," "consolidation," and "palliative" often add to the
confusion surrounding chemotherapy if not properly defined and explained.
The purpose of this page is to increase the level of understanding about various
chemotherapy protocols currently used.
Adjuvant chemotherapy - Chemotherapy given to destroy left-over
(microscopic) cells that may be present after the known tumor is removed by surgery.
Adjuvant chemotherapy is given to prevent a possible cancer reoccurrence.
Neoadjuvant chemotherapy - Chemotherapy given prior to the surgical
procedure. Neoadjuvant chemotherapy may be given to attempt to shrink the
cancer so that the surgical procedure may not need to be as extensive.
Induction chemotherapy - Chemotherapy given to induce a remission.
This term is commonly used in the treatment of acute leukemias.
Consolidation chemotherapy - Chemotherapy given once a remission is
achieved. The goal of this therapy is to sustain a remission. Consolidation
chemotherapy may also be called intensification therapy. This term is commonly
used in the treatment of acute leukemias.
Maintenance chemotherapy - Chemotherapy given in lower doses to assist
in prolonging a remission. Maintenance chemotherapy is used only for certain
types of cancer, most commonly acute lymphocytic leukemias and acute promyelocytic
First line chemotherapy - Chemotherapy that has, through research studies
and clinical trials, been determined to have the best probability of treating a
given cancer. This may also be called standard therapy.
Second line chemotherapy - Chemotherapy that is given if a disease
has not responded or reoccurred after first line chemotherapy. Second line
chemotherapy has, through research studies and clinical trials, been determined
to be effective in treating a given cancer that has not responded or reoccurred
after standard chemotherapy. In some cases, this may also be referred to as
Palliative chemotherapy - Palliative is a type of chemotherapy that
is given specifically to address symptom management without expecting to significantly
reduce the cancer
More Chemotherapy Information:
Protocols - How Chemotherapy Works
How Chemotherapy Is Given
How Doctors Decide Which Chemotherapy Drugs To Give
How Long Chemotherapy Is Given
How To Tell If Chemotherapy Is Working
Cancer Cells & Chemotherapy
Short & Long Term Side Effects of Chemotherapy
Cancer Clinical Trials