This chemotherapy and cancer drugs article is about   Epirubicin which is another anti-neoplastic, cytotoxic chemotherapy agent used for breast, pancreatic, lung and ovarian cancers. Epirubicin has similar activity to doxorubicin and has been approved for use worldwide since the 1990s. It is a bright red liquid which is an anthracycline antibiotic. It acts by binding into the DNA interacting with topoisomerase II enzymes, thereby inhibiting DNA replication and repair, and RNA and protein synthesis. It also produces toxic free-radical intermediates and interacts with cell membrane lipids causing lipid peroxidation. It is ’related’ to doxorubicin, but used because its toxicity and side effects were less severe. However, US research (Medline) suggests that it may cause severe heart problems years after taking it.

Clinical trials have shown that combinations of chemotherapy are more active and increase a woman’s chance of surviving breast cancer if they include epirubicin or adriamycin. It is given intravenously in combination with two other chemotherapy drugs, cyclophosphaniide and Fluorouracil.

Side effects can include: fatigue, nausea and vomiting, sore mouth and throat, sensitivity to sunlight. Temporary hair loss is very likely. 

Approved by

the Medical Board. 

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Other articles that you may find interesting are:

  1. A diet for Chemotherapy
  2. Immunotherapy overview
  3. A to Z Guide to Complementary Therapies

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