Toxicities of anticancer drugs and its management

Ambili Remesh


One of the characteristics that distinguish anticancer agents from other drugs is the frequency and severity of side effects at therapeutic doses. Most cytotoxic drugs target rapidly multiplying cells and the putative targets are the nucleic acids and their precursors, which are rapidly synthesised during cell division. Many solid tumours have a lower growth fraction than the normal bone marrow, gastro intestinal lining, reticuloendothelial system and gonads. Drugs affect these tissues in a dose dependant manner and there is individual susceptibility also. So toxicities are more frequently associated with these tissues. The side effects may be acute or chronic, self-limited, permanent, mild or potentially life threatening. Management of these side effects is of utmost importance because they affect the treatment, tolerability and overall quality of life. This paper gives an overview of different toxicities of anticancer drugs and its management.


Cytotoxicity, Anticancer drugs, Toxicity, Management of side effects, Antineoplastic agents

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