Antineoplastic drugs in 1990. A review (Part I)

D. J. Black, Robert B Livingston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

48 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The drugs used to treat cancer today are a confusing array of compounds with differing origins, mechanisms of action, antitumour spectra, and toxicities. There are 5 chemically distinct types of alkylating agents; the prototypical agent is chlormethine (mustine) and the most recent addition is ifosfamide. Generally these drugs all work in the same fashion and their activity is cell cycle proliferation-dependent but phase-nonspecific. The antimetabolites consist of methotrexate, the pyrimidine and purine analogues, and pentostatin, an adenosine deaminase inhibitor and relative newcomer to the class. The individual mechanisms of action of these agents differ but cytotoxicity is generally cell cycle phase-specific. Naturally occurring antineoplastic agents include the vinca alkaloids, the antitumor antibiotics, 1-asparaginase, the epipodophyllotoxins, and homoharringtonine; it is the most diverse collection of compounds. For these drugs as well as the antimetabolites, the therapeutic and toxic effects often depend heavily on duration of exposure to the drug, an effect known as schedule dependency. Finally, the agents that do not fit one of the above categories are cisplatin (cis-platinum II) and its analogue carboplatin (which is being actively investigated), hydroxycarbamide (hydroxyurea), procarbazine, hexamethylmelamine, amsacrine, and mitoxantrone (mitozantrone). In the future we can expect not only the emergence of new antineoplastic drugs, but also furher refinements in the use of existing drugs. We are beginning to understand the various types of resistance manifested by tumour cells. Our ability to use these potent and highly toxic agents safely should continue to improve.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)489-500
Number of pages12
JournalDrugs
Volume39
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1990
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Antineoplastic Agents
Antimetabolites
Mechlorethamine
Mitoxantrone
Pharmaceutical Preparations
Poisons
Cells
Cell Cycle
Altretamine
Adenosine Deaminase Inhibitors
Amsacrine
Pentostatin
Podophyllotoxin
Vinca Alkaloids
Procarbazine
Asparaginase
Ifosfamide
Hydroxyurea
Alkylating Agents
Carboplatin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

Cite this

Antineoplastic drugs in 1990. A review (Part I). / Black, D. J.; Livingston, Robert B.

In: Drugs, Vol. 39, No. 4, 1990, p. 489-500.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Black, DJ & Livingston, RB 1990, 'Antineoplastic drugs in 1990. A review (Part I)', Drugs, vol. 39, no. 4, pp. 489-500.
Black, D. J. ; Livingston, Robert B. / Antineoplastic drugs in 1990. A review (Part I). In: Drugs. 1990 ; Vol. 39, No. 4. pp. 489-500.
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