Even though External Beam Radiotherapy (EBRT) was the standard treatment procedure until the 1990s, it caused the formation of secondary malignancies, and chemotherapy was eventually adopted as the primary treatment of retinoblastoma.
The five most common drugs used for the drug treatment of retinoblastoma are Carboplatin, Vincristine, Etoposide or Teniposide, and Cyclosporin.
The following is a description of each of these five drugs:
Carboplatin: This retinoblastoma drug treatment is also known as Paraplatin. It is made from the metal Platinum. Introduced in the 1980s, this drug is used for the treatment of many other forms of cancer. This retinoblastoma drug treatment is popular and in heavy usage because of its limited side effects. Its mode of action is via the interference with cell growth of cancerous cells, thereby preventing the malignancy from manifesting.
Vincristine: This drug is another example of an effective retinoblastoma drug treatment. It is sometimes called Oncovin or simply VCR. It is made from the periwinkle plant (Madagascar periwinkle), catharanthus roseus, a perennial, evergreen herb. This drug is available as a powder that on dissolution becomes a clear fluid and ready for administration. One of the older retinoblastoma drug treatments that has been around for many years, it is administered intravenously and is used for many other forms of cancer. However, the side-effects of this drug treatment for retinoblastoma are severe compared to Carboplatin. Vincristine works by affecting the cell division cycle of the cancerous cells.
Etoposide: This drug, sometimes referred to as VP-16 or VePesid, is a retinoblastoma drug treatment administered either orally or through the intravenous route. Derived from a toxin found in the American Mayapple, this retinoblastoma drug treatment works by breaking DNA into fragments, thereby preventing DNA replication. One serious consequence of this drug treatment for retinoblastoma is that it also affects the DNA replication of healthy cells.
Teniposide: This similar retinoblastoma drug treatment affects the DNA replication of cancerous cells.
Cyclosporin: This drug is naturally produced by the fungus Beauveria nivea and is essentially an immunosuppressant drug. It does not have exclusive chemotherapeutic properties, but is used in combination with more than one retinoblastoma drug treatment. This drug has been hypothesized and clinically proven toxic to retinoblastoma cells. The mode of action of this retinoblastoma drug treatment is by inhibiting one of the significant cell pathways.
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