Antineoplastic

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Overview

Antineoplastics (or "antitumor antibiotics", or "noncovalent DNA-binding drugs", or "cytotoxic antibiotics", see also neoplastics) are drugs that inhibit and combat the development of tumors.

In the Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical Classification System, they are classified under L01D.

Health Effects/Occupational Exposure

The adverse health effects associated with antineoplastic agents (cancer chemotherapy drugs, cytotoxic drugs) in cancer patients and some non-cancer patients treated with these drugs are well documented. The very nature of antineoplastic agents make them harmful to healthy cells and tissues as well as the cancerous cells. For cancer patients with a life-threatening disease, there is certainly a great benefit to treatment with these agents. However, for the health care workers who are exposed to antineoplastic agents as part of their work practice, precautions should be taken to eliminate or reduce exposure as much as possible. Pharmacists who prepare these drugs or nurses who may prepare and/or administer them are the two occupational groups who have the highest potential exposure to antineoplastic agents. Additionally, physicians and operating room personnel may also be exposed through the treatment of patients. Hospital staff, such as shipping and receiving personnel, custodial workers, laundry workers and waste handlers, all have potential exposure to these drugs during the course of their work. The increased use of antineoplastic agents in veterinary oncology also puts these workers at risk for exposure to these drugs.[1]

Modes of action

Antineoplastics work by:

  • Inhibiting topoisomerase II, thereby stopping DNA from being unwound, which is required for both DNA replication and RNA/protein synthesis.
  • Generating free radicals.

They are products of various strains of the soil fungus Streptomyces.

Examples

External links

it:Antineoplastici

  1. [www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/antineoplastic/ "NIOSH Occupational Exposure to Antineoplastic Agents"]. United States National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Retrieved 2007-10-10. 

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