What has happened to VBM (vinblastine, bleomycin, and methotrexate) chemotherapy for early-stage Hodgkin lymphoma?

Paolo G. Gobbi, Massimo Federico

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The VBM (vinblastine, bleomycin, methotrexate) chemotherapy combined with involved-field radiotherapy in early-stage Hodgkin lymphoma has not become popular in spite of its excellent results.Nine small trials with this combined therapy were carried out and described in eleven reports.VBM+ radiotherapy offered complete remission rates of 94-100%, with 5-year progression-free survival of 75-95% (elderly patients included). Considerable pulmonary toxicity was recorded in the first trials, but was fully controlled in the later studies through slight modifications of the schedule. The pulmonary toxicity was found related to mediastinal radiotherapy, bleomycin dose and administration of chemotherapy after radiotherapy; it is mitigated by low doses of prednisone.The very good results, the abated side effects on the lungs, the low extrapulmonary toxicity, and the anthracycline-free formulation make this combination therapy worth considering for early-stage Hodgkin lymphoma, particularly in the case of mediastinal involvement or in elderly patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-24
Number of pages7
JournalCritical Reviews in Oncology/Hematology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2012


  • Chemotherapy
  • Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Iatrogenic toxicity
  • Radiotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Hematology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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