Written by : Dr.M.D.Mazumdar, MD
Different Regimens of Chemotherapy for Breast Cancer:
Chemotherapy drugs work by inhibiting the cancer cells from dividing and growing. Different drugs work at different stage sof the cell cyle (the process of division and growth of the cells).
Alkylating agents keep the cell from reproducing (making copies of itself) by damaging its DNA. These drugs work in all phases of the cell cycle.
Antimetabolites interfere with DNA and RNA of the cancer cells. This prevents the DNA from makeing copies of itself and thus preventing the cell from reproducing.
Anti-tumor antibiotics are chemotherapy drugs whihc interfere with enzymes involved in copying DNA during the cell cycle. This will then prevent the DNA from replicating and the cell from dividing into new cancer cells.
Mitotic inhibitors, also called plant alkaloids, are compounds derived from natural products, such as plants. They work by stopping cells from dividing to form new cells, but can damage cells in all phases by keeping enzymes from making proteins needed for cell reproduction.
These drugs, commonly used in the treatment of breast cancer, are usually given in combinations.
A drug which acts on the cancer cells in a particular manner is combined with another drug which acts on them in a differnt manner. These combinations are known as regimens.
Other Specific Drugs for Breast Cancer Chemotherapy:
Besides chemotherapy, certain drugs target the estrogen receptors in breast cells. Since some breast cancers are estrogen receptor positve, these drugs are effective against these type of breast cells. They constitute the hormonal therapy of breast cancer.
Common Chemotherapy Drugs used in Treatment of Breast Cancer: