Cyclophosphamide | Aplastic Anemia & MDS International Foundation

Cyclophosphamide

Brand name: 
Cytoxan
Bone Marrow Disease(s): 
  • aplastic anemia

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Cyclophosphamide (INN), also known as cytophosphane, is a medication mainly used in chemotherapy. It is an alkylating agent of the nitrogen mustard type (specifically, the oxazaphosphorine group).

An alkylating agent adds an alkyl group to DNA. It attaches the alkyl group to the guanine base of DNA, at the number 7 nitrogen atom of the imidazole ring. This interferes with DNA replication by forming intrastrand and interstrand DNA crosslinks.

Cyclophosphamide is used to treat cancers, autoimmune disorders, and AL amyloidosis. As a prodrug, it is converted by liver cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes to form the metabolite 4-hydroxy cyclophosphamide that has chemotherapeutic activity.

Cyclophosphamide has severe and life-threatening adverse effects, including acute myeloid leukemia, bladder cancer, hemorrhagic cystitis, and permanent infertility, especially at higher doses. For autoimmune diseases, doctors often substitute less-toxic methotrexate or azathioprine after an acute crisis.

It is on the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines, a list of the most important medication needed in a basic health system.

The abbreviation CP is common for referring to cyclophosphamide, but abbreviating drug names is not best practice in medicine.

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