Chemotherapy is the use of many different medications that destroy the quick dividing cancer cells and keep them from further causing damage. Most of the drugs that are used in chemotherapy are used in combination with each other. The combinations increase the drugs effectiveness. Here are some of the different types of chemotherapy drugs that are used.

Alkylating Agents- This type of chemotherapy is a non-cell specific treatment. There are many different types of these agents in chemotherapy treatment.

• Ethylenimines
• Mustard gas derivatives
• Metal salts
• Alkylsulfonates
• Nitrosureas
• Hydrazines and triazines

Plant Alkaloids- These chemotherapy medications, as the name implies, take their ingredients from plants. They are effective in attacking the cancer cells during their division stages.

• Camptothecan analogs
• Vinca alkaloids
• Podophyllotoxins
• Taxanes

Antitumor Antibiotics- These drug therapies are cell specific. They are natural and come from the soil fungus, streptomyces.

• Chromomycins
• Anthracyclines

Antimetabolites- These interfere with the cells ability to divide. They are a cell specific treatment and they can attack the cells at different stages of their cycle.

• Adenosine deaminase inhibitor
• Purine antagonist
• Pyrimidine antagonist
• Folic acid antagonist

Topoisomerase inhibitors- These chemotherapy drugs interfere with the cells ability to replicate.

• Topoisomerase I inhibitors
• Topoisomerase II inhibitors

Miscellaneous Antineoplastics- These particular drugs are unique and do not fall into any other class of chemotherapy drug.

• Retinoids
• Antimicrotubule
• Enzymes
• Adrenocortical steroid inhibitor
• Ribonucleotide reductase inhibitor

There are other types of chemotherapy available in addition to these medications. Hormones, immunotherapy as well as targeted chemotherapy are also used. The dose and length of time that chemotherapy will have to be applied will be decided by the doctor and the extent of the illness.

These drugs can be very effective when used in combination. It is still important to detect cancer early on for the treatment to be effective. Most often chemotherapy is used when the disease has spread beyond the original area. Surgery and radiation are used when the treatment is localized to the area of origin. Although, there can be times when all therapies are used in particularly difficult cases.

The advancements that have been made in the treatment of cancer have made the survivability rates in a great many cases considerably higher than they ever have been in the past. It is important that research continue to find newer and less destructive methods in the treatment of cancer.