Cancer Treat Res. 2023:185:49-58. doi: 10.1007/978-3-031-27156-4_3.


Chemotherapy is a widely recognized form of cancer treatment that uses cytotoxic drugs to treat varieties of cancer. In general, these drugs intend to kill the cancer cell and stop the reproduction of cancer cells by which they can prevent further growth and spread. The goals of chemotherapy can be curative or palliative or adjunctive increasing the efficacy of other treatments such as radiotherapy. Combination chemotherapy is commonly prescribed than monotherapy. Most of the chemotherapy drugs are delivered either via the intravenous route or in an oral form. There is a variety of chemotherapeutic agents and most commonly they are divided into several categories including anthracycline antibiotics, antimetabolites, alkylating agents, and plant alkaloids. All chemotherapeutic agents have various side effects. The most common side effects are fatigue, nausea, vomiting, mucositis, hair loss, dry skin, skin rash, bowel changes, anemia, and increase risk of acquiring infection. However, these agents can also cause inflammation of the heart, lungs, liver, kidney, neurons, and disturbance of coagulation cascade.

Keywords: Anti-cancer drugs; Cancer treatment; Chemotherapeutic drugs; Chemotherapeutics; Chemotherapy; Side-effects; Toxicity.

MeSH terms

  • Anthracyclines
  • Blood Coagulation
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation


  • Anthracyclines