Anthracyline review

Anthracyline is an anthracycline chemotherapy agent used to treat some cancers. It is commonly used to treat acute myeloid leukemia and acute lymphatic leukemia. It is also used for Karposi's sarcoma, an acquired immunodeficiency syndrome-related cancer of the skin and mouth but can also spread elsewhere.


It works as a cytotoxic agent, which prevents cancer cells from reproducing and eventually kills them off. It may also be used as part of a cancer treatment plan in combination with other medicaments.

Anthracyline is available as daunorubicin hydrochloride and daunorubicin citrate liposome. The liposomal formulation is structured such that the medicament is contained within lipid (fat) molecules. This special formula is able to penetrate body tissue and reach cancer cells easily because of its smaller size and special structure. It also remains longer in the body than daunorubicin citrate and is considered to be less prone to side effects. Anthracyline's liposomal formulation is available as an injection under the brand name DaunoXome in the United States.

This medicament is often prescribed as one part of a treatment plan for acute myeloid leukemia and acute lymphatic leukemia. It has also been recently approved as a treatment for the rare Karposi's sarcoma.


To prepare Anthracyline for administration, the vial must be filled with 4 mL of sterile water for injection and slowly turned until the material has been completed dissolved in the water. Each vial can provide 20 mg of Anthracyline, and the desired dosage is then drawn using a syringe already containing 10 to 15 mL of 0.9% sodium chloride solution and injected in a rapidly flowing 5% dextrose injection or 0.9% sodium chloride solution. Anthracyline should not be administered with other medicaments or with heparin.

Dosage of Anthracyline varies depending on the patient's condition as well as their age, body surface area and medical history.

For patients below 60 years of age suffering from acute nonlymphocytic leukemia, a dosage of 45 mg/m2/day of Anthracyline IV infusion is given on the first 3 days of the first course of treatment and again on the first 2 days of the succeeding courses. Aside from Anthracyline, another medicament called cytosine arabinoside should also be administered in 100 mg/m2/day IV infusion dosage each day for 7 days for the first course of treatment and 5 days for the following courses of treatment.

For patients 60 years old and above, the dosage is lowered to 30 mg/ m2/day IV infusion on the first 3 days of the initial treatment course and again on the first 2 days of the following courses. Cytosine arabinoside dosages for the treatments remain similar to those administered to patients below 60 years of age.

Dosage for children also vary - and for children suffering from lymphocytic leukemia, a dosage of 25 mg/m2 Anthracyline IV infusion and vincristine 1.5 mg/m2 should be given every first day of the week along with prednisone 40 mg/m2 PO every day. A complete remission of cancer may already be observed after four courses of this treatment, but if remission remains partial, an additional 2 courses may be administered to facilitate complete remission. For children younger than 2 years of age or those whose body surface area is below 0.5 m2, it is recommended to measure dosages of Anthracyline with respect to weight rather than body surface area.


Nausea and vomiting may be experienced soon after treatment and may last for 2 days. Complete or partial hair loss may also be experienced, usually starting 3 to 4 weeks into the treatment.

A dangerous side effect that may occur is the lowering of resistance against infections. If you feel that you have a fever higher than 38 oC (100.5 oF) or feel generally unwell, seek immediate medical attention.

Other side effects include bruising and bleeding, changes in the color of urine and nails, sensitivity to the sun, lassitude and changes in taste.


Anthracyline should only be administered through a vein along with other IV fluids, and must not be injected into muscle tissue or just underneath the skin. Do not inject the medicament into the spinal cavity as this may cause serious nerve damage. Notify doctors if you observe any redness or experience pain, itching or swelling at or around the site of injection. Rarely, Anthracyline may also increase the risk for cardiovascular problems, which includes heart failure, during or even months and years after completion of treatment.

Anthracyline has the following structural formula:

Chemical structure of anthracyline

 Molecular formula of anthracyline is C27H29NO10
 Chemical IUPAC Name is 8-acetyl-10-(4-amino-5-hydroxy-6-methyl-tetrahydropyran-2-yl)oxy-6,8,11-trihydroxy-1-methoxy-7,8,9,10-tetrahydrotetracene-5,12-dione
 Molecular weight is 527.52 g/mol

Generic name: Daunorubicin

Brand name(s): Acetyladriamycin, Cerubidin, Cerubidine, Daunamycin, Daunarubicinum, Daunoblastin, Daunomycin, Daunorrubicina, Daunorubicine, Daunorubicinum, Daunoxome, Leukaemomycin C, Ondena, Rubidomycin, Rubomycin C

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