What Is Doxorubicin Used For?
Doxorubicin is prescribed for treating several types of cancer, including certain types of leukemia, breast cancer, Hodgkin's disease, and lung cancer. While doxorubicin can kill both healthy and cancerous cells, it has a greater effect on the cancer cells because they multiply more rapidly. Some off-label doxorubicin uses can include treating other types of cancer that the medication has not been approved to treat.
What Is Doxorubicin Used For?Doxorubicin hydrochloride (Adriamycin®) is a prescription medication used to treat various types of cancer. It is part of a group of medications called anthracyclines. Doxorubicin is used to treat many different types of cancer, such as:
- Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL)
- Acute myeloblastic leukemia (AML)
- AIDS-related Kaposi's sarcoma
- Bladder cancer
- Breast cancer
- Stomach cancer (gastric cancer)
- Hodgkin's disease
- Lung cancer
- Malignant lymphoma
- Multiple myeloma
- Ovarian cancer
- Soft tissue and bone sarcoma
- Thyroid cancer
- Wilms' tumor.
Please note that this article refers specifically to the nonliposomal formulation of doxorubicin. For more information about uses for the liposomal formulation (Doxil®), see What Is Liposomal Doxorubicin Used For?.
How Does Doxorubicin Work?Doxorubicin is part of a group of medications called anthracyclines. Anthracyclines kill cells (including cancer cells and normal cells) by working in several ways. Doxorubicin binds to DNA in cells, changing the shape of the DNA and causing other problems with the DNA. Doxorubicin can damage the membranes (outer coating) of cells and may damage other parts of cells as well.
While doxorubicin can kill both healthy and cancerous cells, it has a greater effect on cells that are multiplying rapidly. Generally, cancer cells multiply more rapidly than healthy cells, and are therefore more affected by doxorubicin.