2132 Classification of the drugs used for chemotherapy

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The agents used in cancer chemotherapy are divided into four groups.

1. Cytostatics, by far the largest group, are subdivided into six subgroups:

■ vinca alkaloids and their analogs

■ podophyllotoxin derivatives

■ alkylating agents (nitrogen mustards and analogs, and other alkylating agents)

■ antibiotics with antitumor properties

■ antimetabolites

■ other cytotoxic drugs.

2. Other antineoplastics, including:

■ platinum compounds > other agents

■ monoclonal antibodies.

3. Endocrine antineoplastics, including:

■ hormone antagonists

■ enzyme inhibitors.

4. Phytocytostatics.

Since cancer during pregnancy is fortunately rare, and antineoplastic therapy is usually conducted as combination chemotherapy following established standard protocols, it is difficult to determine the teratogenic potential of individual cytostatic drugs in the human. Apparently, antimetabolites possess the strongest teratogenic potential after transrctinoic acids such as tretinoin (see Chapter 2.17).

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