Forms of Chemotherapy
Forms of chemotherapy or types of chemotherapy
Chemotherapy is one of the most commonly used treatments for cancer. There are various forms of chemotherapy or types of chemotherapy drugs that are used in this treatment. This treatment involves the use of drugs to cure cancer. In most cases, a single drug or a combination of drugs are used for treatment. The treatment differs from patient to patient depending upon the type of cancer, its severity and stage, and the age and health of the patient.
Most of the drugs used during chemotherapy cause a lot of side effects as the drugs not only destroy the fast-growing cancer cells but also stop the healthy cells from growing. This might result into some unpleasant side effects such as hair loss, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and the patients become more prone to infections. In some cases, the side effects might become so severe that the treatment is stopped. The severity and the dosage of drugs might be reduced to make sure that the cancer treatment is given with minimum side effects.
Depending upon the use of drugs, here are a few types/forms of chemotherapy:
- Alkylating agents: There are various kinds of alkylating agents used for chemotherapy. These agents are active especially during the resting phase of the cell. Some of the alkylating agents used during chemotherapy are, mustard gas derivatives, ethyleneamines, alkyl sulfonates, hydrazines and triazines, nitrosoureas and metal salts. An example is <a href=”http://www.ecancerchemotherapy.com/chemotherapy-oxaliplatin.html”>oxaliplatin</a>, used for the treatment of colorectal cancer is an example of alkylating agent.
- Plant Alkaloids: These are chemotherapy treatments that are derived from certain kinds of plants. The vinca alkaloid is made from catharanthus rosea or periwinkle plant, taxane on the other hand is made from the bark of a tree called taxus, also known as Pacific Yew tree. Taxanes and vinca alkaloids can also be called antimicrotubule agents. Apart from this, podophyllotoxins are obtained from the May apple plant, camptothecin analogs are obtained from the Asian “Happy Tree”. Podophyllotoxins and camptothecin are also called topoisomerase inhibitors. All the plant alkaloids are specified as per the cycle of the cells. They attack the cancer cells during the different phases of cell division. An example drug that is a plant alkaloid is vinorelbine, which is used for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer, Hodgkin disease, ovarian cancer, and even breast cancer.
- Antimetabolites: These are a kind of chemotherapy drugs that are quite similar to the normal substances found in the cell. If these substances are incorporated into the cellular metabolism, they fail to divide. Antimetabolites attack the cells at some very specific phases in the cell cycle. They can be further classified on the basis of the substances with which they come in contact with. These include folic acid antagonist, pyrimidine antagonist, purine antagonist and adenosine deaminase inhibitor.
- Anti tumor Antibiotics: These chemo treatments are made from natural products that are produced by the species found in soil such as fungus streptomyces. The drugs prove helpful during the various phases that a cell undergoes during its cycle. Some anti tumor antibiotics include anthracyclines and chromomycin, doxorubicin, daunorubicin, dactinomycin, plicamycin, mitomycin, bleomycin.
- Topoisomerase inhibitors: These are the types of drugs that interact with the topoisomerase enzymes. Topoisomerase enzymes try to control and manipulate the DNA structure, which proves quite essential to avoid replication. Topoisomerase inhibitors include topoisomerase I inhibitors and Topoisomerase II inhibitors. Irinotecan, topotecan, amsacrine, etoposide, phosphate and teniposide are a few examples of the drugs.
A lot of drugs that are used during chemotherapy are not only useful but also quite unique. Ribonucleotide reductase inhibitor, Adrenocortical steroid inhibitor, Enzymes, Antimicrotubule agent, and Retinoids. Hydroxyurea, Asparaginase and Pegaspargase, Mitotane, Estramustine, Bexarotene, Isotretinoin, Tretinoin are a few examples of the drugs.
Chemotherapy can be used for the treatment of diseases other than cancer; TB chemotherapy is one such example. Apart from the various types of chemotherapy or forms of chemotherapy, a lot of other type of chemotherapy treatments also exists. They include targeted therapy, hormone therapy and immunotherapy. Chemotherapy being one of the most effective types of treatments is widely used and is also recommend by oncologists to treat the various kinds of cancers.