Chemotherapy types

Chemotherapy types

Types of Chemotherapy

Types of chemotherapy include:

  1. Alkylating Agents

Alkylating agents are most active in the resting phase of the cell.  These types of drugs are cell-cycle non-specific.  There are several types of alkylating agents used in chemotherapy treatments:

. Mustard gas derivatives:  Mechlorethamine, Cyclophosphamide, Chlorambucil, Melphalan, and Ifosfamide.

. Ethylenimines:  Thiotepa and Hexamethylmelamine.

. Alkylsulfonates:  Busulfan.

. Hydrazines and Triazines: Altretamine, Procarbazine, Dacarbazine and Temozolomide.

. Nitrosureas:  Carmustine, Lomustine and Streptozocin.  Nitrosureas are unique because, unlike most types of chemo treatments, they can cross the blood-brain barrier.  They can be useful in treating brain tumors.


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. Metal salts:  Carboplatin, Cisplatin, and Oxaliplatin.

  1. Plant Alkaloids

Plant alkaloids are chemotherapy treatments derived made from certain types of plants.  The vinca alkaloids are made from the periwinkle plant (catharanthus rosea). The taxanes are made from the bark of the Pacific Yew tree (taxus).  The vinca alkaloids and taxanes are also known as antimicrotubule agents. The podophyllotoxins are derived from the May apple plant. Camptothecan analogs are derived from the Asian "Happy Tree" (Camptotheca acuminata).  Podophyllotoxins and camptothecan analogs are also known as topoisomerase inhibitors, which are used in certain types of chemotherapy.  The plant alkaloids are cell-cycle specific.  This means they attack the cells during various phases of division.

. Vinca alkaloids: Vincristine, Vinblastine and Vinorelbine.

. Taxanes:  Paclitaxel and Docetaxel.

. Podophyllotoxins:  Etoposide and Tenisopide.

. Camptothecan analogs: Irinotecan and Topotecan.

  1. Antitumor Antibiotics

Antitumor antibiotics are chemo treatments made from natural products produced by species of the soil fungus Streptomyces.  These drugs act during multiple phases of the cell cycle and are considered cell-cycle specific.  There are several types of antitumor antibiotics:

. Anthracyclines:  Doxorubicin, Daunorubicin, Epirubicin, Mitoxantrone, and Idarubicin.

. Chromomycins:  Dactinomycin and Plicamycin.

. Miscellaneous:  Mitomycin and Bleomycin.

  1. Antimetabolites

Antimetabolites are types of chemotherapy treatments that are very similar to normal substances within the cell.  When the cells incorporate these substances into the cellular metabolism, they are unable to divide.  Antimetabolites are cell-cycle specific.  They attack cells at very specific phases in the cycle.  Antimetabolites are classified according to the substances with which they interfere.

. Folic acid antagonist:  Methotrexate.

. Pyrimidine antagonist:  5-Fluorouracil, Foxuridine, Cytarabine, Capecitabine, and Gemcitabine.

. Purine antagonist:  6-Mercaptopurine and 6-Thioguanine.

. Adenosine deaminase inhibitor:  Cladribine, Fludarabine, Nelarabine and Pentostatin.

  1. Topoisomerase Inhibitors

Toposiomerase inhibitors are types of chemotherapy drugs that interfere with the action of topoisomerase enzymes (topoisomerase I and II).  During the process of chemo treatments, topoisomerase enzymes control the manipulation of the structure of DNA necessary for replication.

. Topoisomerase I inhibitors:  Ironotecan, topotecan

. Topoisomerase II inhibitors:  Amsacrine, etoposide, etoposide phosphate, teniposide.

  1. Miscellaneous Antineoplastics

Several useful types of chemotherapy drugs are unique:

. Ribonucleotide reductase inhibitor:  Hydroxyurea.

. Adrenocortical steroid inhibitor:  Mitotane

. Enzymes:  Asparaginase and Pegaspargase.

. Antimicrotubule agent:  Estramustine

. Retinoids:  Bexarotene, Isotretinoin, Tretinoin (ATRA)

The doctor will recommend a suitable option for the individual. They may recommend combining chemotherapy with other options, such as radiation therapy or surgery.


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10 common questions about Chemotherapy types

1How many different types of chemotherapy are there?
Chemotherapy Drugs. There are more than 100 different chemotherapy drugs. Below are the seven main types of chemotherapy, the types of cancer they treat, and examples. The caution includes things that differ from typical chemotherapy side effects.
2What is the strongest chemo drug?
Doxorubicin (Adriamycin) is one of the most powerful chemotherapy drugs ever invented. It can kill cancer cells at every point in their life cycle, and it's used to treat a wide variety of cancers. Unfortunately, the drug can also damage heart cells, so a patient can't take it indefinitely.
3Is chemotherapy painful?
The actual chemotherapy process is usually painless. Some chemo drugs may cause a slight burning as they enter your vein, but this is usually minor and tends to ease as the infusion progresses. ... If during a session you feel any genuine pain or discomfort, let your chemo nurse know
4What type of cancer is chemotherapy used for?
Chemotherapy can be used as the primary or sole treatment for cancer. After other treatments, to kill hidden cancer cells. Chemotherapy can be used after other treatments, such as surgery, to kill any cancer cells that might remain in the body. Doctors call this adjuvant therapy.
5Is radiation better than chemo?
Radiation therapy can take place on its own, but it's frequently combined with chemotherapy as a comprehensive cancer treatment program. Radiation therapy differs from chemotherapy — it is used to treat just the tumor, so it affects only the part of the body that has cancer
6Can chemo kill you?
But chemotherapy does a lot more than get rid of cancer. While these drugs are powerful enough to kill rapidly growing cancer cells, they also can harm healthy cells. ... While most side effects clear up shortly after treatment ends, some may continue well after chemotherapy has ended
7How many cycles of chemo is normal?
Most chemotherapy treatments are given in repeating cycles. The length of a cycle depends on the treatment being given. Most cycles range from 2 to 6 weeks. The number of treatment doses scheduled within each cycle also varies depending on the drugs being given.
8What is Red Devil chemo?
Adriamycin (doxorubicin)—also known by the trade names Rubex and Doxil—is a chemotherapy drug that can slow or stop the growth of cancer cells. ... It is one of the chemotherapy drugs likely to cause hair loss, and can also cause heart damage for some people
9Can cancer grow while on chemo?
Chemotherapy is an effective treatment for breast cancer, yet some patients develop metastasis in spite of it. ... If the tumor resists neoadjuvant therapy, there can be a higher risk of developing metastatic disease, meaning that the tumor will recur in other organs, such as bones or lungs
10Which chemo drug is called the Red Devil?
Doxorubicin Doxorubicin. Doxorubicin, sold under the trade names Adriamycin among others, is a chemotherapy medication used to treat cancer. This includes breast cancer, bladder cancer, Kaposi's sarcoma, lymphoma, and acute lymphocytic leukemia. It is often used together with other chemotherapy agents

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