Brand Names

Hycamtin®. There may be other brand names for this medication.

How is Topotecan Administered?

Your medicine will be given by given by injection into a vein.

What Is It Used For?

It is used to treat ovarian cancer and lung cancer that have spread and did not improve after treatment with other medications. It is also used, with other medications, to treat cervical cancer that has not improved or that has come back after other treatments.

How Does it Work?

Cancer is a group of diseases in which abnormal cells divide without control. Both normal and cancer cells go through cycles that include a resting phase, active growing phases, and division. Your chemotherapy schedule (cycle) is based upon your cancer type, how fast your cells divide, and when each drug is the most effective.

Toptecan is a type of plant alkaloid called a topoisomerase inhibitor; it slows or stops the growth of cancer cells. It attacks the cancer cells during specific stages of the cell cycle. If the cells are unable to divide, they die.

The faster cells are dividing (reproducing), the more likely it is that chemotherapy will damage/kill the cells. Unfortunately, chemotherapy does not know the difference between cancer cells and normal cells that reproduce frequently. The cells in your body that are the most likely to be affected by chemotherapy are the cells that line the digestive tract (mouth, stomach, intestines), the hair follicles, and your blood cells.

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