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High dose therapy

This refers to the administration of drug therapy considerable stronger than conventional dosage cancer chemotherapy. The objective is to achieve better 'cell kill' by the increased dosage. However, the down side of such high dose therapy is that the bone marrow suffers more than the temporary damage that is inflicted on it during conventionally dosed therapy and indeed the patient would die from bone marrow toxicity if some form of marrow rescue procedure is performed. Therefore high dose therapy is reserved for high risk patients with diseases that have responded to orthodox chemotherapy (which should already have achieved some form of remission if the procedure is to have any chance of cure) but remain at high risk of relapse. The procedure is mainly used in lymphoma relapse situations but can have a role in other cancers (e.g. relapsed testicular teratoma).
Whilst high dose therapy usually refers to high dosage chemotherapy, total body irradiation may play a part of the high dose therapy in some treatment protocols.

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