Chemotherapy and the cell
A cell goes through many changes
to divide into two cells. Science
has grouped these changes into
7 main phases. There may be
another phase of rest, too. Some
chemotherapy drugs work in any
phase. Other chemotherapy drugs
work in one or two growth phases.
Chemotherapy may work in some or all phases of cell division
Copyright © 2016 National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®).www.nccn.org
NCCN Guidelines for Patients
Stomach Cancer, Version 1.2016
Overview of cancer treatments Chemotherapy
Chemotherapy, or “chemo,” includes drugs
that disrupt the life cycle of cancer cells. Some
chemotherapy drugs kill cancer cells by damaging
their DNA or by disrupting the making of DNA. Other
drugs interfere with cell parts that are needed for
making new cells. Thus, no new cells are made to
replace dying cells. Chemotherapy can affect both
cancer and normal cells.
As shown in
, some chemotherapy drugs
work when cells are in an active growth phase. During
the active growth phase, cells grow and divide to
form a new cell. Chemotherapy drugs that disrupt
the growth phase work well for cancer cells that are
growing and dividing quickly. Other chemotherapy
drugs work in any growth or resting phase.
Chemotherapy and other cancer drugs used for
stomach cancer are listed in
only one drug is used. Other times, more than one
drug is used because drugs differ in the way they
work. A combination regimen is the use of two or
more chemotherapy drugs.
Most chemotherapy drugs for stomach cancer are
liquids that are slowly injected into a vein. Only
capecitabine is made as a pill. By any method, the
drugs travel in your bloodstream to treat cancer
throughout your body. Doctors use the term
“systemic” when talking about a cancer treatment for
the whole body.
Chemotherapy is given in cycles of treatment days
followed by days of rest. This allows the body to
recover before the next cycle. Cycles vary in length
depending on which drugs are used. Often, a cycle is
14, 21, or 28 days long.