What are anthracyclines


Synonyms: anthracyclines, anthracycline antibiotics
English: anthracyclines

1 definition

Under the name Anthracyclines a group of antibiotic compounds is summarized, all of which are isolated from bacteria of the genus Streptomyces and used as cytostatics in chemotherapy. They are characterized by a very versatile mechanism of action and attack v. a. Cells with a high mitotic rate (e.g. cancer cells).

2 chemistry

All representatives of the anthracyclines are aromatic hydrocarbon molecules.

3 mechanisms of action

Anthracyclines fight the proliferation and spread of malignant masses in very different ways. Their mechanism of action includes, for example, the intercalation of the tumor DNA. As a result, protein biosynthesis is no longer possible and the cell dies.

Another cytostatic effect is based on the firm binding to the enzyme topoisomerase II. This enzyme loosens DNA double strands and helix turns and thus enables smooth cell division in the first place. Anthracyclines are also able to form free radicals and create double-strand breaks in the tumor DNA. Ultimately, the above-mentioned active ingredients increase the permeability of the cell membrane and kill the cells in this way.

4 side effects

Anthracyclines have a cardiotoxic effect, which is why cardiac function should always be monitored during therapy with these drugs. There is a risk of cardiomyopathy with irreversible heart failure.

5 representatives