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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Altretamine. A review of its pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic properties, and therapeutic potential in cancer chemotherapy.

Altretamine (hexamethylmelamine) is a cytotoxic antineoplastic agent which appears to require metabolic activation. Metabolic intermediates may act as alkylating agents; however, altretamine is not directly cross-resistant with classical alkylating agents. Objective response rates to orally administered altretamine as salvage therapy in patients with advanced ovarian cancer were 0 to 33%, with disease stabilisation in a further 8 to 78% of patients. Response rates appear to be higher in patients who have responded to previous alkylating agent or cisplatin-based therapy. There is some evidence that addition of altretamine to platinum-based combination regimens used for induction therapy of advanced ovarian cancer may improve long term survival, particularly in patients with limited residual disease. Although altretamine displays some activity in small cell lung cancer, it is unlikely to have any clinical role in the management of non-ovarian cancer. Altretamine appears to be relatively well tolerated, with gastrointestinal, neurological and haematological toxicities being the main dose-limiting adverse effects. However, assessment of accurate incidence rates for these effects is complicated by the use of altretamine with cisplatin. On the basis of the emerging body of clinical evidence, altretamine appears to have a limited role in the treatment of persistent or recurrent advanced ovarian cancer, primarily in patients who are potentially platinum sensitive yet intolerant of platinum analogues. Additionally, altretamine may be added to platinum-based regimens for induction therapy of advanced ovarian cancer. At the doses currently recommended, altretamine offers a reasonably well tolerated regimen that can be administered orally and is suitable for use on an outpatient basis.[1]


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