Author(s): Koukourakis MI
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Abstract Amifostine (Ethyol), an inorganic thiophosphate, is a selective broad-spectrum cytoprotector of normal tissues that provides cytoprotection against ionizing radiation and chemotherapeutic agents, thus preserving the efficacy of radiotherapy and chemotherapy. This review summarizes the preclinical data and clinical experience with amifostine, and provides insight into future clinical directions. Amifostine, an inactive pro-drug, is transformed to an active thiol after dephosphorylation by alkaline phosphatase found in the normal endothelium. The absence of alkaline phosphatase in the tumoral endothelium and stromal components, and the hypovascularity and acidity of the tumor environment, may explain its cytoprotective selectivity. The cytoprotective mechanism of amifostine is complicated, involving free radical scavenging, DNA protection and repair acceleration, and induction of cellular hypoxia. Intravenous administration of amifostine 740-900 mg/m(2) before chemotherapy and 250-350 mg/m(2) before each radiotherapy fraction are widely used regimens. The US Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of amifostine as a cytoprotector for cisplatin chemotherapy and for radiation-induced xerostomia. Ongoing trials are being conducted to determine the efficacy of amifostine in reducing radiation-induced mucositis and other toxicities. Novel schedules and routes of administration are under investigation, and may further simplify the use of amifostine and considerably broaden its applications.
This article was published in Anticancer Drugs
and referenced in Journal of Clinical Toxicology