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Chemotherapy/Cytotoxic Drugs??

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by lilycat, Oct 14, 2001.

  1. lilycat

    lilycat Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    2,774
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    Aug 12, 2000
    ???
    Ok, I'll just preface this by saying I'm a big slacker, and forgot about a topic I needed to research before my PBL small group class tomorrow.

    Is anyone out there moderately well-versed in what difference, if any, exists between chemotherapy and cytotoxic drug regimens? Specifically, we were researching a case where a patient with nephrotic syndrome is receiving cytotoxic agents as part of his treatment plan, but some of the previous literature we went through refers to these drugs as "chemotherapy" which confused the hell out of some of my classmates since they thought that was reserved for cancer treatment.

    Any additional insight or direction on this question will be greatly appreciated. I'm doing hurried web searches at the moment. :rolleyes:
     
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  3. Md 2b In TN

    Md 2b In TN 7+ Year Member

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    Aug 12, 2001
    hey here is my 2 cents: Chemotherapy drugs are cytotoxic agents. Chemo is basically a poison, it's goal is to destroy the cancer before it destroys the body beyond rebuilding itself. The goal of treatment it to administer the drug in amounts tolerable by the good tissue, but in amounts high enough to kill cancer cells, the theory is that cancer cells uptake it faster because of their high rate of metabolism. This would hopefully cause cytotoxicity to cancer while extracellular levels remain below the toxic level.

    Hope That Helps! Good Luck
     
  4. lilycat

    lilycat Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    2,774
    4
    Aug 12, 2000
    ???
    Thanks for the reply -- that was essentially the reasoning I was using last week as well, before I was assigned this topic. I guess the question boils down to, how is a cytotoxic regimen for treating say lupus or nephrotic syndrome different from that used for cancer? Since some of the same drugs are used for each, I'm assuming that it mostly comes down to dosage and dosage schedule, with cancer chemotherapy obviously being the more aggressive treatment plan. Or, is there a more subtle underlying nuance that I'm missing?
     
  5. rhwave

    rhwave Junior Member 7+ Year Member

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    Sep 30, 2001
    CA
    I'm pretty sure the difference is just in the intensity of the treatment plan, with doses/scheduling accounting for most of that difference...My only other observation would be that treatment for lupus or nephrotic syndrome likely only involves one cytotoxic agent, while cancer is often treated with chemo combinations.
     

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