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Anthracyclines

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Overview


The anthracyclines (figure of Daunorubicin, the prototypical anthracycline) are a class of antibiotic chemotherapeutic agents originally derived from a soil bacterium, Streptomyces. They are among the first chemotherapies developed and the most widely used, employed against leukemia, lymphoma, and cancers of the breast, bladder, endometrium, lung, ovaries, stomach and thyroid, and certain sarcomas (Pratt, p. 160). Despite their long history as an anti-cancer agent, there is still considerable mystery around their mechanism of action, and the means by which they produce their most troubling side-effect, severe cardiotoxicity. Recent advances in both theoretical understanding and practical alternatives have brought a small handful of alternative forms to market.

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