How Do Antineoplastic Vinca Alkaloids Work?
Antineoplastic vinca alkaloids are a class of drugs used to treat adult patients with Philadelphia chromosome-negative acute lymphoblastic leukemia (a type of cancer of the blood and bone marrow), Hodgkin's disease (cancer of the lymphatic system), testicular cancer, and histiocytosis X or Letterer-Siwe disease (a severe disease in which histiocytes start to multiply and attack the tissues or organs, starting in infancy with a scaly, sometimes itchy rash on the scalp, ears, abdomen, and creases of the neck and face).
Vinca alkaloids are chemotherapy agents originally derived from the periwinkle plant “Catharanthus roseus.” They are antimitotic chemotherapy drugs that work by interfering with the polymerization of tubulin, a protein responsible for building the microtubule system which appears during cell division in proliferating cancer cells.
Vinca alkaloids are administered as a powder or solution (liquid) to be injected intravenously (into a vein).
Vinca alkaloids work in the following ways:
- They are chemotherapy drugs that work by slowing down or stopping the growth of cancer cells.
- They bind to the microtubular proteins of the mitotic spindle, leading to crystallization of the microtubule and thus causing mitotic arrest or cell death.
How Are Antineoplastic Vinca Alkaloids Used?
Antineoplastic vinca alkaloids are used to treat conditions such as:
- Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (a type of cancer of the blood and bone marrow)
- Non-small cell lung cancer
- Testicular cancer
- Squamous cell carcinoma of head and neck
- Hodgkin’s lymphoma (cancer of the lymphatic system)
- Kaposi's sarcoma (cancer that develops from the cells that line the lymph or blood vessels)
- Histiocytic lymphoma (a rare, aggressive type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma)
- Mycosis fungoides (a rare form of T-cell lymphoma of the skin)
- Bladder cancer
- Letterer-Siwe disease (a severe disease in which histiocytes start to multiply and attack the tissues or organs, starting in infancy with a scaly, sometimes itchy rash on the scalp, ears, abdomen, and creases of the neck and face)
What Are Side Effects of Antineoplastic Vinca Alkaloids?
Some of the common side effects include:
- Abdominal pain
- Mouth sores
- Loss of appetite
Other rare side effects include:
- Hypotension (low blood pressure)
- Peripheral neuropathy (damage to one or more groups of nerves)
- Hair loss
- Chills, sore throat, fever, or cough
- Chest pain
- Swelling of the arms, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
- Anemia (low red blood cell count)
- Thrombocytopenia (low blood platelet count)
- Dyspnea (shortness of breath)
- Stomatitis (inflammation of the mucous membrane of the mouth)
Information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible side effects, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. Check with your doctor or pharmacist to make sure these drugs do not cause any harm when you take them along with other medicines. Never stop taking your medication and never change your dose or frequency without consulting your doctor.