Etoposide belongs to a group of anticancer drugs known as epipodophyllotoxins. Epipodophyllotoxins are substances naturally occurring in the root of American May apple plants.

Etoposide causes the fragmentation (separation) of DNA through the inhibition of Topoisomerase II.

Topoisomerase enzymes control the manipulation of the structure of DNA necessary for replication (making a copy of itself).

On this page:


  • Burkitt lymphoma in adults 65 years of age or younger
  • Initial therapy for advanced Hodgkin lymphoma. Only recommended in patients younger than 60 years
  • Relapsed or refractory Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Transplant eligible patients for both salvage and peripheral blood stem cell mobilisation
  • Newly diagnosed stage IV or relapsed/refractory extranodal natural killer/T-cell lymphoma
  • Peripheral T-cell lymphoma (PTCL), prior to autologous transplant
  • Mature nodal or extranodal T-cell or NK-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • High grade B-cell lymphoma (including DLBCL) with MYC and BCL-2 or BCL-6 translocations
  • Primary mediastinal Diffuse Large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL)
  • Aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphoma in HIV infected individuals
  • Relapsed/refractory non-Hodgkin lymphoma prior to transplant
  • Relapsed or refractory non-Hodgkin lymphoma


The amount of etoposide depends on many factors including:

  • Height and weight
  • General health or other health problems
  • Type of lymphoma being treated
  • The doctor will determine the dose, schedule and how it will be given.
  • As an infusion into the vein (intravenous infusion)
  • Etoposide should be given only by slow intravenous infusion since hypotension has been reported as a possible side effect of rapid intravenous infusion.
  • Etoposide is considered an irritant. An irritant is a chemical that can cause inflammation of the vein through which it is given. If the medication escapes from the vein it can cause tissue damage.
  • If a patient experiences pain or notice redness or swelling at the IV site whilst receiving etoposide, should alert their health care professional immediately.


The amount of etoposide given and the method depends on many factors including:

  • Height and weight
  • General health or other health problems
  • The type of lymphoma being treated.

Possible Side Effects

  • Low white blood cell count. (this can increase the risk for infection).
  • Low platelet count (this can increase the risk of bleeding).
  • Hair loss
  • Menopause (chemotherapy induced)
  • Loss of fertility. Meaning, the ability to conceive a child may be affected by etoposide. Discuss this issue with your healthcare provider.
  • Nausea and vomiting (especially at high doses)
  • Low blood pressure (if the drug is infused too fast)
  • Mouth sores (especially at high doses)
  • Diarrhoea (especially at high doses)
  • Poor appetite
Share This

Newsletter Sign Up

Contact Lymphoma Australia Today!

Please note: Lymphoma Australia staff are only able to reply to emails sent in English language.

For people living in Australia, we can offer a phone translation service. Have your nurse or English speaking relative call us to arrange this.