Plant alkaloids bind to microtubule proteins during metaphase, causing mitotic arrest. The cell cannot divide and dies. This group is mainly cell cycle phase specific for M phase. Major toxicities occur in the haematopoietic, integumentary, neurologic and reproductive systems. Hypersensitivity reactions also may occur during administration of these agents.1, 7, 11 This group contains three subgroups:1, 7, 11
- the vinca alkaloids e.g. vincristine and vinblastine
- the epipodophyllotoxins e.g. etoposide and teniposide
- the taxanes e.g. paclitaxel and docetaxel.
Choose an antineoplastic agent from each subgroup of the plant alkaloids and discuss their:
- Indications in cancer control.
- Mechanism of action.
- Adverse effects.
- Administration considerations.