Doxil is part of a group of medications called anthracyclines. Anthracyclines kill cells (including cancer cells and normal cells) by working in several ways. Doxil binds to DNA in cells, changing the shape of the DNA and causing other problems with the DNA. It can damage the membranes (outer coating) of cells and may damage other parts of cells as well.
While Doxil can kill both healthy and cancerous cells, it has a greater effect on cells that are multiplying rapidly. In general, cancer cells multiply more rapidly than healthy cells, and are therefore more affected by Doxil.
Doxil is a pegylated liposomal formulation of doxorubicin. This means that the drug molecules are trapped within liposomes (tiny fatty bubbles). This changes how the medication is distributed throughout the body and increases the time it lasts in the body. It is thought that Doxil is less toxic to heart tissues but more toxic to skin tissues, compared to nonliposomal doxorubicin.
Can Children Use Doxil?
Doxil is approved only for use in people age 18 and older, as it has not been adequately studied in children. Talk with your child's healthcare provider about the benefits and risks of using Doxil in children.
On occasion, your healthcare provider may recommend this product for something other than the conditions discussed in this article. Using Doxil to treat any type of cancer other than ovarian cancer, AIDS-related Kaposi's sarcoma, or multiple myeloma would be considered an off-label use.
Ho Peter. Doxil Breast Cancer NDA: 50-718 (presentation to the Food and Drug Administration Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee (July 15, 2009). FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/downloads/AdvisoryCommittees/CommitteesMeetingMaterials/Drugs/OncologicDrugsAdvisoryCommittee/UCM176244.pdf. Accessed March 11, 2010.
American Cancer Society (ACS). What Is Kaposi's Sarcoma? (9/17/2009). ACS Web site. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/docroot/cri/content/cri_2_4_1x_what_is_kaposis_sarcoma_21.asp. Accessed March 11, 2010.
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