CPTP 3.7 Anti-Cancer Drugs Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in CPTP 3.7 Anti-Cancer Drugs Deck (37)
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Name the cytotoxic drug classes used in the treatment of malignant disease. Give one example from the formulary of each.

Alkylating agents
• Cyclophosphamide

• Doxorubicin

• Methotrexate

Vinca alkaloids
• Vincristine

Platinum compounds
• Cisplatin


What were alkylating agents developed from?

Mustard gas


What structure are alkylating agents?

What does this allow them to do (mechanism of action)?

Bischloroethylamine: They have a central N atom, bound to two chloroethane groups and one variable group (worth looking up)

Forms a DNA crosslink preventing DNA replication:
• The Cl atoms are displaced, and the two ethyl 'arms' grab onto the two unzipped replicating strands
• One replicating strand is grabbed by each arm (I.e. one onto the lagging strand and one onto the leading strand), so that they can no longer be copied into daughter DNA. (IMG 1)


Name an alkylating agent.

Cyclophosphamide (IMG 2)


What is the mechanism of action of anthracyclines? Recall the formulary example.

Topoisomerase I/II inhibitors:
• Topoisomerase II usually 'untangles' DNA, while topoisomerase I usually breaks once strand to relieve torsion
• Anthracyclines stabilise the complex between the topoisomerase enzymes and DNA



What are the side effects present in all chemotherapy options?

All (affects rapidly-dividing cells):
• Bone marrow suppression
• Hair loss
• Nausea
• Loss of fertility
• Teratogenic effects
• Fatigue


How does the side effect of bone marrow suppression manifest?

• Neutropenia
• Anaemia
• Thrombocytpenia


In which chemotherapy options should extravasation be avoided?

• Doxorubicin
• Vincristine


what can the cardiotoxicity of doxorubicin lead to and how is this assessed?

Late heart failure

Heart ultrasound (echocardiogram) every 5 years for people who have been treated with doxorubicin


What is the mechanism of the cardiotoxic effects of doxorubicin?

Induces apoptosis in the cardiac stem cells, so the regenerative capacity of the heart is reduced


Name an antimetabolite and state how it works


Inhibits pyramidine and purine synthesis, inhibiting DNA replication:
• It does this by inhibiting dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) by mimicking the structure of its substrate, folate.
• The metabolite of DHFR (folonic acid) is needed to build purines and thymidine (pyramidine)


What must be given along with methotrexate? Why?

Folinic acid, a lethal dose of methotrexate is given, so the metabolite (folonic acid) must be given as an antidote


How does methotrexate maintain its therapeutic efficacy despite the administration of the antidote, folonic acid?

Cancerous cells are more sensitive to methotrexate than regular cells


What is commonly used in conjunction with methotrexate to maximise remission?

• Vincristine
• 6-mercaptopurine


Why does remission occur with leukaemia when methotrexate is used to treat it? How is this worked around?

Meningeal leukaemia occurs because the blood brain barrier forms a pharmacokinetic sanctuary. These cells survive and return to cause relapse

Intrathecal methotrexate injections are used


What is the effect of neutropenia?

Increased risk of infection


What is the effect of thrombocytopenia?

Increased risk of bleeding


Why must kidney function be tested before methotrexate use?

If methotrexate cant be excreted by kidneys, crystals of methotrexate form in the kidneys, damaging them. (and the liver)


Name a vinsa alkaloid. What do these do?


A 'spindle toxin' that inhibits mitosis by binding to tubulin


On top of the normal chemotherapy side effects, what are the side effects of vincristine?

• Neuropathic pain and numbness
• Drop foot
• Severe constipation


On top of the normal chemotherapy side effects, what are the side effects of methotrexate?

• Liver and kidney toxicity
• Skin rash
• Mucositis


On top of the normal chemotherapy side effects, what are the side effects of doxorubicin?

• Cardiotoxicity
• Mucositis


When should intrathecal injections never be used? Why?

When using Vincristine, as this is lethal


Which protein kinase pathway is most frequently abnormally activated in cancer cells?

Tyrosine kinases


Name a protein kinase inhibitor. Which type of cancer does it work on?


Chronic myeloid leukaemia


Describe the aetiology of chronic myeloid leukaemia

(IMG 3):
• Chromosome 9 usually has the ABL gene, which codes for a protein which is a key signalling molecule in cytokine receptor signalling
• Chromosome 22 usually has the BCR gene
• There is a translocation between chromosomes 9 and 22
• This results in chromosomes 9q+ and 22q-
• BCR and ABL are now both on 22q-
• BCR-ABL is constantly expressed as a result
• This leads to overexpression of the signalling pathway involving ABL
• This activity triggers proliferation


How does imatinib treat chronic myeloid leukaemia?

Binds to the ABL component of BCR-ABL, competitively antagonising ATP. This inactivates BCR-ABL.


What are the side effects of imatinib?

• Fatigue
• Loss of appetite
• Diarrhoea and vomiting


What are the non-cytotoxic cancer drug classes and an example of each?

Protein kinase inhibitors
• Imantinib

Sex hormones and antagonists:
• Tamoxifen


What is the link between sex hormones and cancers?

Oestrogen receptors (nuclear hormone receptors) are drivers of many breast cancers. These modify transcriptional activity.