A trial looking at increasing the dose of doxorubicin in ABVD chemotherapy for Hodgkin lymphoma

Cancer type:

Blood cancers
Hodgkin lymphoma




Phase 1

This trial looked at increasing the dose of doxorubicin in a chemotherapy drug combination called ABVD for Hodgkin lymphoma. This trial was supported by Cancer Research UK.

Doctors often use chemotherapy to treat Hodgkin lymphoma. They often give a combination of drugs called ABVD. This is made up of doxorubicin (Adriamycin), bleomycin, vinblastine and dacarbazine.

ABVD works well, but sometimes it doesn’t get rid of Hodgkin lymphoma completely.  Researchers wanted to find out if it was possible to increase the dose of doxorubicin. They wanted to find the highest dose they could give without causing too many side effects.

They also looked at certain substances (biomarkers) in the body to see if any of them could show how well the treatment is working.

The aims of the trial were

  • To find the highest dose of doxorubicin that can be given safely
  • To measure biomarkers to find out more about the treatment’s effect on cancer cells

Summary of results

The trial team found the highest dose of doxorubicin that can be safely used as part of ABVD chemotherapy for Hodgkin lymphoma.

This trial recruited 24 people with Hodgkin lymphoma. They all had ABVD, but with different doses of doxorubicin.

The first few people taking part had the lowest dose of doxorubicin, and the next few people had a higher dose. And so on, until the research team found the best dose to give. This is called a dose escalation study. The research team found that the highest dose they gave caused some serious side effects, so the best dose to use was the one below that.

The research team also looked at a number of substances (biomarkers) in the body that might help predict the effects of the treatment. They found that a protein called cytokeratin 18 (CK18) increased soon after starting treatment in people who had more serious side effects. They hope that in the future CK18 could be used to decide who could have a higher dose of treatment, but more work needs to be done.

The trial team concluded that people with Hodgkin lymphoma could safely have a higher dose of doxorubicin as part of ABVD chemotherapy.

We have based this summary on information from the team who ran the trial. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (peer reviewed Open a glossary item) and published in a medical journal. The figures we quote above were provided by the trial team. We have not analysed the data ourselves.

Recruitment start:

Recruitment end:

How to join a clinical trial

Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Chief Investigator

Professor John Radford

Supported by

Cancer Research UK
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
National Institute for Health Research Cancer Research Network (NCRN)
Paterson Institute for Cancer Research
The Christie NHS Foundation Trust

Other information

This is Cancer Research UK trial number CRUK/08/013.

If you have questions about the trial please contact our cancer information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle - 2856

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Last reviewed:

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