Antineoplastic agents are drugs used in chemotherapy to treat cancer. There are many different categories of antineoplastic agents and they are used to treat different cancers. Generally, antineoplastic agents are used to treat types of leukemia, lymphoma, ovarian, breast and brain cancers, among others. Many antineoplastic agents are not capable of targeted chemotherapy. When chemotherapy is not targeted, there are generally more and worse symptoms. Targeted chemotherapy is when the chemotherapy agent ‘knows’ what type of cells to look for and only kills them. Untargeted chemotherapy attacks an entire area rather than specific cells, creating many more side effects. The first and most famous antineoplastic agent is mustard gas, famous for being used during WWI. Antineoplastic agents can cause vomiting, nausea, hair loss, fever, bone marrow depression, toxicity of many organs and more.
Antineoplastic Agents Drugs
There are many different kinds of antineoplastic agents. Below are listed the different groups of antineoplastic agents. Within the groups, there are further subdivisions.
- Methyl Hyrdazines
- Nitrogen mustards
- Platinum Coordination complexes
- Folate antagonists
- Purine antagonists
- Pyriminde antagonists
- Vinca Alkaloids
Hormones and Antagonists
- 5-alpha reductase inhibitor
- Aromatase inhibitor
- GnRH Analogues
- Growth Hormone
- Progesteron derivatives
Miscellaneous antineoplastic agents
Antineoplastic Agents Uses
Antineoplastic agents treat many types of cancer.
Antineoplastic Agents Side Effects
The side effects of antineoplastic agents vary widely depending on which drug is being used. Due to our limited understanding of cancer, many of the side effects are severe. Some of the common side effects are listed below.
- Nausea and vomiting
- Hair loss
- Loss of appetite
- Stomach upset
- Bone marrow depression
- Toxicity of the liver, kidney, lungs, bone marrow or stomach
- General pain
Antineoplastic Agents Interactions
Antineoplastic agents may interact with other drugs and substances in serious ways. While being treated for cancer, patients should discuss all medications they take with their doctor to discover which drugs they should not take during chemotherapy. You should also tell your doctor if you have undergone radiation or used any other anticancer drugs.