Active Ingredient History
Etoposide (trade name Etopophos) is a semisynthetic derivative of podophyllotoxin that exhibits antitumor activity. It has been in clinical use for more than two decades and remains one of the most highly prescribed anticancer drugs in the world. The primary cytotoxic target for etoposide is topoisomerase II. This ubiquitous enzyme regulates DNA under- and over winding, and removes knots and tangles from the genome by generating transient double-stranded breaks in the double helix. Etoposide kills cells by stabilizing a covalent enzyme-cleaved DNA complex (known as the cleavage complex) that is a transient intermediate in the catalytic cycle of topoisomerase II. The accumulation of cleavage complexes in treated cells leads to the generation of permanent DNA strand breaks, which trigger recombination/repair pathways, mutagenesis, and chromosomal translocations. If these breaks overwhelm the cell, they can initiate death pathways. Thus, etoposide converts topoisomerase II from an essential enzyme to a potent cellular toxin that fragments the genome. Although the topoisomerase II-DNA cleavage complex is an important target for cancer chemotherapy, there also is evidence that topoisomerase II-mediated DNA strand breaks induced by etoposide and other agents can trigger chromosomal translocations that lead to specific types of leukemia. Etopophos (etoposide phosphate) is indicated in the management of the following neoplasms: Refractory Testicular Tumors-and for Small Cell Lung Cancer. The in vitro cytotoxicity observed for etoposide phosphate is significantly less than that seen with etoposide, which is believed due to the necessity for conversion in vivo to the active moiety, etoposide, by dephosphorylation. The mechanism of action is believed to be the same as that of etoposide. NCATS
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