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POMB/ACE

Find out what POMB/ACE is, how you have it and other important information about having POMB/ACE.

POMB/ACE is the name of a combination of a chemotherapy drug combination. It includes:

  • P – CisPlatin
  • O – Vincristine, which is also called Oncovin
  • M – Methotrexate
  • B – Bleomycin
  • A – Actinomycin, which is also called Dactinomycin
  • C – Cyclophosphamide
  • E – Etoposide, which is also known as Eposin, Etopophos or Vepesid

You also have a drug called folinic acid when you have the POMB part of the treatment.

You have folinic acid after you have had the methotrexate. Methotrexate stops some normal cells working properly, causing side effects.

Folinic acid helps the normal cells to recover and helps to stop the side effects. 

It is treatment for testicular cancer and other germ cell tumours.

How you have POMB/ACE

You have the drugs into your bloodstream (intravenously).

You have the treatment through a drip into your arm. A nurse puts a small tube (a cannula) into one of your veins and connects the drip to it.

You might need a central line. This is a long plastic tube that gives the drugs into a large vein, either in your chest or through a vein in your arm. It stays in while you’re having treatment, which may be for a few months.

When you have POMB/ACE

You usually have POMB/ACE chemotherapy as cycles of treatment. Each cycle treatment lasts 2 weeks. Depending on your needs, you may have between 5 and 7 cycles, taking up to 4 months in total.

You have POMB for the 1st and 2nd cycles of treatment. For the 3rd cycle you have ACE and then you alternate between POMB and ACE every 2 weeks. 

You have POMB in the following way:

  • On the 1st day you have vincristine as a drip for 10 minutes followed by a drip of methotrexate
  • On the 2nd day you have bleomycin as a drip over 24 hours
  • On the 3rd day you have cisplatin as a drip over 8 to 12 hours

For the next 10 days you have no treatment. Your next cycle of treatment then starts. 

You have ACE in the following way

  • On the 1st and 2nd day you have etoposide as a drip and actinomycin as an injection into your bloodstream
  • On the 3rd day you have the etoposide as a drip and the actinomycin as an injection into the bloodstream. You also have cyclophosphamide as a drip over 30 minutes

Tests during treatment

You have blood tests before starting treatment and during your treatment. They check your levels of blood cells and other substances in the blood. They also check how well your liver and kidneys are working.

Side effects

Important information

Treatment for other conditions

Always tell other doctors, nurses or dentists that you’re having this treatment if you need treatment for anything else, including teeth problems.

Pregnancy and contraception

This treatment might harm a baby developing in the womb. It is important not to become pregnant or father a child while you are having treatment and for a few months afterwards. Talk to your doctor or nurse about effective contraception before starting treatment.

Breastfeeding

Don’t breastfeed during this treatment because the drugs may come through in your breast milk.

Fertility

You may not be able to become pregnant or father a child after treatment with these drugs. Talk to your doctor before starting treatment if you think you may want to have a baby in the future. Men may be able to store sperm before starting treatment. Women may be able to store eggs or ovarian tissue but this is rare.

Other medicines, foods and drink

Cancer drugs can interact with some other medicines and herbal products. Tell your doctor or pharmacist about any medicines you are taking. This includes vitamins, herbal supplements and over the counter remedies.

Immunisations

Don’t have immunisations with live vaccines while you’re having treatment and for at least 6 months afterwards.

In the UK, live vaccines include rubella, mumps, measles, BCG, yellow fever and Zostavax (shingles vaccine).

You can:

  • have other vaccines, but they might not give you as much protection as usual
  • have the flu vaccine
  • be in contact with other people who've had live vaccines as injections

Avoid contact with people who’ve had live vaccines taken by mouth (oral vaccines). This includes the rotavirus vaccine given to babies. The virus is in the baby’s urine for up to 2 weeks and can make you ill. So, you mustn't change their nappies for 2 weeks after their vaccination.

You also need to avoid anyone who has had oral polio or typhoid vaccination recently.

More information about this treatment

For further information about this treatment go to the electronic Medicines Compendium (eMC) website.

You can report any side effect you have to the Medicines Health and Regulatory Authority (MHRA) as part of their Yellow Card Scheme.

Information and help

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