|Pronunciation||al tret' a meen|
|Other names||Hexamethylmelamine, 2,4,6-Tris(dimethylamino)-1,3,5-triazine|
|Drug class||Alkylating agent|
|Main uses||Ovarian cancer|
|Side effects||Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, hair loss, bone marrow suppression, peripheral nerve problems, rash|
|By mouth (capsules)|
|Elimination half-life||4.7–10.2 hours|
|Chemical and physical data|
|Molar mass||210.285 g·mol−1|
|3D model (JSmol)|
Altretamine, sold under the brand name Hexalen, is a medication used to treat ovarian cancer. Specifically it is used for advanced disease when other treatments are not effective. It is taken by mouth.
Common side effects include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, hair loss, bone marrow suppression, peripheral nerve problems, and rash. Other side effects may include mood disorders and further cancer. Use in pregnancy may harm the baby. It is an alkylating agent.
It is indicated for use as a single agent in the palliative treatment of people with persistent or recurrent ovarian cancer following first-line therapy with cisplatin and/or alkylating agent-based combination.
It is not considered a first-line treatment, but it can be useful as salvage therapy. It also has the advantage of being less toxic than other drugs used for treating refractory ovarian cancer.
Combination with pyridoxine (vitamin B6) decreases neurotoxicity but has been found to reduce the effectiveness of an altretamine/cisplatin regime. MAO inhibitor can cause severe orthostatic hypotension when combined with altretamine; and cimetidine can increase its elimination half-life and toxicity.
This unique structure is believed to damage tumor cells through the production of the weakly alkylating species formaldehyde, a product of CYP450-mediated N-demethylation. Administered orally, altretamine is extensively metabolized on first pass, producing primarily mono- and didemethylated metabolites. Additional demethylation reactions occur in tumor cells, releasing formaldehyde in situ before the drug is excreted in the urine. The carbinolamine (methylol) intermediates of CYP450-mediated metabolism also can generate electrophilic iminium species that are capable of reacting covalently with DNA guanine and cytosine residues as well as protein. Iminium-mediated DNA cross-linking and DNA-protein interstrand cross-linking, mediated through both the iminium intermediate and formaldehyde, have been demonstrated, although the significance of DNA cross-linking on altretamine antitumor activity is uncertain.
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