What Is Thiotepa Used For?
If you have ovarian cancer, breast cancer, Hodgkin's disease, or certain other types of cancer, you may receive thiotepa. This prescription drug works by interrupting the multiplication process of cancer cells. It is approved only for use in adults. However, there may be times when it is prescribed to treat cancer in children, although this is an unapproved thiotepa use.
Thiotepa (Thioplex®) is a prescription chemotherapy medication. It is approved to treat people with a variety of different types of cancer, including:
- Breast cancer
- Ovarian cancer (cancer of the ovaries)
- Superficial bladder cancer (cancer that is confined to the lining of the bladder)
- Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
- Hodgkin's disease (also known as Hodgkin's lymphoma).
In addition, thiotepa is approved to control effusion that results from certain cancers. Effusion occurs when excess fluid accumulates in the space between membranes that line body organs, such as the lungs or abdomen (stomach).
Thiotepa is an injectable medication. The injections can be given in several ways. Many people will receive it as an injection into a vein (an intravenous, or IV, injection). However, when used to treat bladder cancer, the medication may be given directly into the bladder. When used to control effusion, thiotepa may be injected directly into the body cavity where the excess fluid is located, such as the abdominal (stomach) area.
Thiotepa is considered a palliative treatment. The goal of palliative cancer treatment is not to cure the disease, but rather to slow down the progression and reduce cancer symptoms.
Thiotepa is part of a group of medications called alkylating agents. Alkylating agents work by causing strands of DNA to bond to each other and become linked (this is known as "cross-linking"). The linked strands cannot uncoil and separate, which is necessary for the DNA to replicate. Because DNA replication is essential for cells to grow and multiply, alkylating agents prevent cell growth and multiplication and may cause cell death.