All Chemotherapy Drugs

Chemotherapy started in the early 20th century when scientists observed nitrogen mustards suppressed bone marrow activity. Early chemotherapy was given as a palliative, but over time the goals adjusted to causing remission or cure.

While the other mainstays of cancer treatment – radiation therapy and surgery – are directed at one portion of the body at a time, chemotherapy is a systemic treatment. The anti-cancer drugs travel through the body and can attack cancerous cells anywhere.

MedicineTrade NameCategoryOther Info
AbemaciclibVerzenioCDK (Cyclin-Dependent Kinase) 4/6 Inhibitor 
AbirateroneZytigaAntiandrogen, CYP17A1 inhibitor 
AcalabrutinibCalquenceBTK Inhibitor 
Actinomycin-DAct-D, CosmegenAntibiotic 
Ado-trastuzumabKadcylaantibody-drug conjugatealso called Trastuzumab emtansine
AfatinibGilotrifKinase Inhibitor 
AldesleukinProleukinImmunostimulant 
AlectinibAlecensaKinase Inhibitor 
AlemtuzumabCampathMonoclonal antibody 
AlitretinoinPanretin, ToctinoRetinoids 
AlpelisibPiqrayPI3K Inhibitor 
AltretamineHexalenAlkylating agent 
Amivantamab-vmjwRybrevantMonolocal Antibody 
AminoglutethimideCytadrenAromatase inhibitor 
AnastrozoleArimidexAromatase inhibitor 
ApalutamideErleadaAntiandrogen 
Arsenic Trioxide OtherMight also cause cancer
AsciminibScemblixkinase inhibitor 
Asparaginase, L-asparaginaseElspar, KidrolaseEnzyme 
AtezolizumabTecentriqMonoclonal Antibodycheckpoint inhibitor
AvapritinibAyvakitKinase inhibitor 
AvelumabBavencioMonoclonal Antibodycheckpoint inhibitor
AxicabtageneYescartaCAR T-Cell therapy 
AxitinibInlytaKinase Inhibitor 
AzacitidineVidazaAntimetabolite 
BelinostatBeleodaqHDAC Inhibitor 
BendamustineTreandaAlkylating Agent, Mustard 
Belantamab mafodotinBlenrepMonoclonal antibody 
BevacizumabAvastinMonoclonal antibodyAngiogenesis inhibitor
BexaroteneTargretinRetinoid 
BicalutamideCasodexAnti-Androgen 
BinimetinibMektoviKinase Inhibitor 
BleomycinBlenoxaneAntibiotic 
BlinatumomabBlincytoMonoclonal Antibody 
BortezomibVelcadeProteasome Inhibitor 
BosutinibBosulifKinase Inhibitor 
Brentuximab vedotinAdcetrisantibody-drug conjugate 
Brexucabtagene autoleucelTecartusCAR T-Cell therapy 
BrigatinibAlunbrigALK Inhibitor 
BusulfanMyleranAlkylating AgentAlkyl sulfonate
CabazitaxelJevtanaTaxane 
CabozantinibCabometyxKinase Inhibitor 
Calaspargase pegol-mknlAsparlasEnzyme 
CamptothecinCamptosarTopoisomerase inhibitor 
CapecitabineXelodaAntimetaboliteProdrug of Fluorouracil
CapmatinibTabrectakinase inhibitor 
CarboplatinParaplatinAlkylating AgentPlatinum compound
CarfilzomibKyprolisProteasome inhibitor 
CarmustineBiCNUAlkylating AgentNitrosurea
Cemiplimab-rwlcLibtayoMonoclonal Antibody 
CeritinibZykadiaALK inhibitor 
CetuximabErbituxMonoclonal Antibody 
ClofarabineClolarantimetabolite 
ChlorambucilLeukeranAlkylating Agent, mustard 
CisplatinPlatinolAlkylating AgentPlatinum compound
CladribineLitak and MovectroAntimetaboliteAdenosine deaminase inhibitor
CobimetinibCotellicKinase InhibitorMEK Inhibitor
CopanlisibAliqopaPI3K Inhibitor 
CrizotinibXalkoriKinase Inhibitor 
CyclophosphamideEndoxan, Cytoxan, NeosarAlkylating Agent, mustard 
CytarabineCytosar-UAntimetabolite 
DabrafenibTaflinarBRAF Inhibitor 
DacarbazineDTIC, DTIC-DomeAlkylating Agent 
DacomitinibVizimproKinase Inhibitor 
DactinomycinCosmegenAntibioticAnother name for Actimycon-D
DaratumumabDarzalexMonoclonal Antibody 
DarolutamideNubeqaHormone Suppressant 
DasatinibSprycelKinase Inhibitor 
DaunorubicinDaunoXome, CerubidineAnthracycline 
DecitabineDacogenAntimetaboliteCytosine Analog
DegarelixFirmagonAntiandrogen 
Denileukin diftitoxOntakantibody-drug conjugate 
DinutuximabUnituxinMonoclonal Antibody 
DocetaxelTaxotereMitotic Inhibitor 
Dostarlimab-gxlyJemperliMonoclonal Antibody 
DoxorubicinAdriamycinAnthracycline 
DurvalumabImfinziMonoclonal Antibodycheckpoint inhibitor
DuvelisibCopiktraPI3K inhibitor 
MedicineTrade NameCategoryComments
ElotuzumabEmplicitMonoclonal Antibody 
EnasidenibIdhifaIDH2 Inhibitor 
EncorafenibBraftoviKinase Inhibitor 
Enfortumab vedotin-ejfvPadcevKinase Inhibitor 
EntrectinibRozlytrekKinase Inhibitor 
EnzalutamideXtandinonsteroidal antiandrogen 
EpirubicinEllenceAnthracycline 
ErdafitinibBalversaKinase Inhibitor 
EribulinHalavenMitotic Inhibitor 
ErlotinibTarcevaKinase Inhibitor 
EstramustineEstracitHormone Suppressant 
EtoposideEposin, VepesidTopoisomerase inhibitorplant alkaloid
EverolimusAfinitor, ZortressmTOR inhibitor 
ExemestaneAromasinAromatase Inhibitor 
Fam-trastuzumab deruxtecan-nxkiEnhertuAntibody-drug conjugate 
Fluorouracil (5-FU)AdrucilAntimetabolite 
FloxuridineFUDRAntimetabolitepyrimidine analog
FludarabineFludaraAntimetabolitepurine analog
FlutamideEulexinnonsteroidal antiandrogen 
FulvestrantFaslodexHormone Suppressant 
FutibatinibLytgobiKinase Inhibitor 
GefitinibIressaKinase Inhibitor 
GemcitabineGemzarAntimetaboliteNucleoside analog
Gemtuzumab ozogamicinMylotargantibody-drug conjugate 
GilteritinibXospataKinase Inhibitor 
GlasdegibDaurismoHedgehog signaling pathway inhibitor 
GoserelinZoladexHormone agonist 
HistrelinVantas, SupprelinHormone suppressant 
HydroxyureaHydrea, Droxia, MylocelAntimetaboliteinhibition of the enzyme ribonucleotide reductase
IbritumomabZevalinantibody-drug conjugate 
IbrutinibImbruvicaBTK Inhibitor 
IdarubicinIdamycinAnthracycline 
IdelalisibZydeligPI3K Inhibitor 
IfosfamideMitoxana, IfexAlkylating Agent 
ImatinibGleevecKinase Inhibitor 
InfigratinibTruseltiqKinase Inhibitor 
Inotuzumab ozogamicinBesponsaantibody-drug conjugate 
InterferonIntron A, Roferon AImmunostimulant 
IpilimumabYervoyMonoclonal Antibodycheckpoint inhibitor
IrinotecanCamptosaTopoisomerase Inhibitor 
Isatuximab-irfcSarclisaMonoclonal Antibody 
IvosidenibTibsovoIDH1 Inbibitor 
IxabepiloneAzaepothilone BMitotic Inhibitor 
IxazomibNinlaroProteosome Inhibitor 
LapatinibTykerbKinase Inhibitor 
LarotrectinibVitrakviKinase Inhibitor 
LenalidomideRevlimidImmunomodulatory imideAngiogenesis inhibitor
LenvatinibLanvimaKinase Inhibitor 
LetrozoleFemaraAromatase Inhibitor 

MedicineTrade NameCategoryComments
LeuprolideViadur, EligardHormone Suppresant 
LomustineCeeNuAlkylating AgentNitrosurea
Loncastuximab tesirine-lpylZynlontaantibody-drug conjugate 
LorlatinibLorbrenaKinase Inhibitor 
LurbinectedinZepzelcaAlkylating Agent 
Lutetium Lu 177 dotatateLutatheraantibody-drug conjugate 
Lutetium Lu 177 vipivotide tetraxetanPluvictoantibody-drug conjugate 
MargetuximabMargenzaMonoclonal Antibody 
MechlorethamineMustargenAlkylating Agent 
MegestrolMegacehormone suppressant 
MelphalanAlkeranAlkylating Agent 
Melphalan flufenamidePepaxtoAlkylating Agent 
MercaptopurinePurinetholAntimetabolite 
MethotrexateMTXAntimetaboliteAntifolate
MidostaurinRydaptFLT3 Inhibitor 
Mirvetuximab soravtansine-gynxElahereMAB Conjugate 
MitomycinMutamycinAntibiotic 
MitotaneLysodreninhibitor of the adrenal cortex 
MitoxantroneNovantroneTopoisomerase Inhibitor 
MobocertinibExkivityKinase Inhibitor 
MogamulizumabPoteligeoMonoclonal Antibody 
Moxetumomab pasudotox-tdfkLumoxitiAntibody-drug conjugate 
NaxitamabDanyelzaMonoclonal Antibody 
NecitumumabPortrazzaMonoclonal Antibody 
NelarabineArranonAntimetabolite 
NeratinibNerlynxKinase Inhibitor 
NilotinibTasignaKinase Inhibitor 
NilutamideNilandron, AnandronAnti-androgen 
NiraparibZejulaPARP Inhibitor 
NivolumabOpdivoMonoclonal Antibodycheckpoint inhibitor
Nivolumab/relatlimabOpdualagMonoclonal Antibodycheckpoint inhibitor
ObinutuzumabGazyvaMonoclonal Antibody 
OctreotideSandostatinHormone Suppressant 
OfatumumabArzerraMonoclonal antibody 
OlaparibLymparzaPARP Inhibitor 
OlaratumabLartruvoMonoclonal Antibody 
OmacetaxineSynriboprotein translation inhibitor and plant alkaloid 
OsimertinibTagrissoKinase InhibitorEGFR inhibitor
OxaliplatinEloxatinAlkylating AgentPlatinum compound
MedicineTrade NameCategoryComments
PacritinibVonjoKinase Inhibitor 
PalbociclibIbranceCDK4/6 inhibitor 
PanobinostatFarydakHDAC inhibitor 
PanitumumabVectibixMonoclonal Antibody 
PazopanibVotrientKinase Inhibitor 
PegaspargaseOncasparOther 
PegfilgrastimNeulastaOther 
PembrolizumabKeytrudaMonoclonal Antibodycheckpoint inhibitor
PemetrexedAlimtaAntimetaboliteAntifolate
PemigatinibPemazyrekinase inhibitor 
PentostatinNipent, deoxycoformycinAntimetaboliteadenosine deaminase inhibitor
PertuzumabPerjetaMonoclonal Antibody 
Polatuzumab vedotin-piiqPolivyantibody conjugate 
PomalidomidePomalystImmunomodulatory imide 
PralatrexateFolotynAntimetaboliteAntifolate
Pralsetinib

 

Gavretokinase inhibitor 
PonatinibIclusigKinase Inhibitor 
PrednisoloneDelta-Cortef, Orapred, Pediapred, Prelone
CorticosteroidMostly used for other diseases
PrednisoneDeltasone, Meticorten, OrasoneCorticosteroidMostly used for other diseases
ProcarbazineMatulaneAlkylating Agent 
MedicineTrade NamesCategoryOther
RamucirumabCyramzaMonoclonal Antibody 
RegorafenibStivargaKinase Inhibitor 
RelugolixOrgovyxHormone Suppressant 
RibociclibKisqaliCD4/6 Inhibitor 
RipretinibQinlockKinase Inhibitor 
RituximabRituxan, MabTheraMonoclonal Antibody 
RomidepsinIstodaxHDAC Inhibitor 
RucaparibRubracaPARP Inhibitor 
RuxolitinibJakafiKinase Inhibitor 
Sacituzumab govitecan-hziyTrodelvyantibody-drug conjugateTopoisomerase inhibitor

Selinexor
Xpovioselective inhibitor of nuclear export 
SelpercatinibRetevmoKinase Inhibitor 
SiltuximabSylvantMonoclonal Antibody 
SonidegibOdomzoHedgehog signaling pathway inhibitor 
SorafenibNexavarKinase Inhibitor 
SotorasibLumakrasKinase Inhibitor 
StreptozocinZanosarAlkylating agentNitrosurea
SunitinibSutentKinase Inhibitor 
TafasitamabMonjuviMonoclonal Antibody 
Tagraxofusp-erzsElzonrisAntibody-drug conjugate 
TalazoparibTalzennaPARP Inhibitor 
Talimogene laherparepvecImlygiconcolytic herpes virus 
TamoxifenNolvadex, Istubal, and ValodexHormone suppressant 
TazemetostatTazverikEnzyme inhibitor 
TebentafuspKimmtrakmonoclonal antibody 
Teclistamab-cqyvTecvaylimonoclonal antibody 
TemozolomideTemodar, TemodalAlkylating agent 
TemsirolimusToriselmTOR Inhibitor 
TeniposideVumon, VM-26Topoisomerase II inhibitorplant alkaloid
TepotinibTepmetkoKinase Inhibitor 
ThalidomideThalomidImmunomodulatory imide 
ThioguanineTabloidAntimetabolites 
ThiotepaThioplexAlkylating agent 
TisagenlecleucelKymriahadoptive cell transfer 
Tisotumab vedotin-tftvTivdakantibody-drug conjugate 
TivozanibFotivdakinase inhibitor 
TopotecanHycamtinTopoisomerase inhibitor 
ToremifeneFarestonHormone Suppressant 
TositumomabBexxarantibody-drug conjugate 
TrabectedinYondelisAlkylating Agent 
TrametinibMekinistKinase Inhibitor of MEK1 and MEK2 
TrastuzumabHerceptinMonoclonal Antibody 
TremelimumabImjudoMonoclonal Antibodycheckpoint inhibitor
TretinoninVesanoidRetinoid 
Trifluridine/TipiricilLonsurfAntimetabolite 
TriptorelinTrelstarHormone Suppressant 
TucatinibTukysaKinase Inhibitor 
UmbralisibUkoniqPI3K Inhibitor 
ValrubicinValstarAnthracycline 
VandetanibCaprelsaKinase Inhibitor 
VemurafenibZelborafBRAF kinase inhibitor 
VenetoclaxVenclextaBCL-2 Inhibitor 
VinblastineVelbanVinca Alkaloid 
VincristineVincasar PfsVinca Alkaloid 
VindesineEldisine Vinca Alkaloid 
VinorelbineNavelbineVinca Alkaloid 
VismodegibErivedgeHedgehog Pathway Inhibitor 
VorinostatZolinzaHDAC inhibitor 
ZanubrutinibBrukinsaBTK inhibitor 
Ziv-afliberceptZaltrapVEGF inhibitor 

Explanation of how medicines are named

Spreadsheet of chemotherapy agents: All Chemotherapy Agents

In Excel format: All Chemotherapy Agents

PDF of above table: All Chemotherapy Drugs

Properties we want in anti-cancer medicines

How would you attack a cancerous cell? In a body full of trillions of cells, how do you get the cancerous ones and not the healthy ones.  It’s not easy, and devising a method that can kill only malignant cells while leaving normal cells unscathed is a holy grail of cancer.

If we could have the ideal chemotherapy drug, what characteristics would it have? Some ideas:

  • Would work both to cure cancer and to prevent it
  • Easy to give to patients, avoids needles or extended administration times.  Oral administration in a pill might be ideal
  • Has no negative effect from chronic administration
  • Rapidly shrinks tumor and/or kills cancer cells with no effect on non-cancerous cells.  In other words, has high specificity for cancer.

And what biochemical targets would these drugs aim at?  Perhaps those:

  • High level of expression in neoplastic tissue
  • Important in pathogenesis of cancer
  • Not important in regular functioning of tissue
  • Susceptible to pharmacological disruption
  • If you inhibit the target, you stop or slow the cancer

The earliest antineoplastic compounds aimed at cellular reproduction. One way malignant cells differ is in that they reproduce more quickly than other cells. If you send in a drug to disrupt the mitosis (cell dividing) process, you can affect fast-multiplying cancerous cells more than normal cells. And this is the method by which most chemotherapy drugs have their effects. Kill the cells while they divide. We say the drugs are cytotoxic.

Of course the specificity is not even close to perfect, which means many healthy cells are inadvertently killed. That’s why chemotherapy drugs have severe side effects.

This also explains why side effects show up where they do. In the cancer-free body some cells multiply faster than others. Cells in the bone marrow, skin, lining of the digestive system, for instance, grow faster than most cells, and that’s why common side effects include anemia, skin rashes, and nausea.

The cell reproduction cycle is complex and different chemotherapy drugs attack different points in the cycle, so we see somewhat different side effects from different drugs.

This is why chemo nay-sayers say chemo is poison. The difference between a poison and a medicine is at least partly in the intent of the administrator.

Liver and Kidney damage

The body eliminates foreign substances largely through action of the kidneys and liver. The liver metabolizes foreign substances – that is – it chemically transforms them to different materials. If these foreign substances are poisons, the liver might be able to make them non-poisonous, or less poisonous. The kidneys are super-filters that remove unusual materials from the bloodstream. When the kidneys function correctly, foreign substances are sent to the urine stream and they exit the body.

Because they are at the front line in the war against poison, the kidneys and liver often take the most damage, and emergency room doctors know to check liver and kidney function when a patient has swallowed something hazardous. Likewise, liver and kidney damage happens during chemotherapy treatment and is a particular danger if the dose is too high. The assault on these organs is fundamentally different from the side effects chemotherapy bring; damage to the liver and kidneys is acute and often causes immediate cessation of the cancer treatment. Further, if the cancer itself damages the liver or kidneys, options for chemotherapy treatment are reduced.

Popular combination regimens for chemotherapy.

The economics and market structure of the chemotherapy industry.

Chemotherapy agents on WHO List of Essential Medicines.

Chemo FDA Approved for Specific Cancers

Medicines Approved for Specific Cancers (A-D)

Medicines Approved for Specific Cancers (E-L)

Medicines Approved for Specific Cancers (M-Z)

Callaix