Epirubicin is an anthracycline in chemotherapy-related to breast cancer. It is often used with
other medications to treat breast cancer, especially in patients who have had surgery to remove
the tumor or had ovarian, gastric, lung cancers and lymphomas.
Epirubicin Hydrochloride is the hydrochloride salt of the anthracycline antineoplastic antibiotic
called doxorubicin. Its role is to intercalate into DNA and inhibit topoisomerase II. This further
inhibits DNA replication and ultimately, interferes with RNA and protein synthesis. DNA and
RNA synthesis is a result of Intercalating complexes. The mechanisms leading to cell death by
triggering DNA cleavage by topoisomerase II. Is postulated, that the underlying mechanism
could be binding to cell membranes and plasma proteins delivering the compound's cytotoxic
effects. Epirubicin also generates cell and DNA damage-causing free radicals.
Epirubicin Hydrochloride is sold under the brand names Ellence, Pharmorubicin and Epirubicin
Ebewe amongst others.
Upjohn file for FDA approval for their node-positive breast cancer in 1984. However, the
research in the area was first published in 1980. Later in 1999, Pharmacia, by now part of
Upjohn was granted FDA approval as a component of adjuvant therapy in node-positive
Dosage and administration
Epirubicin Hydrochloride is sold as Injection, intended for intravenous administration in 50 mg or
25 mL, 200 mg or 100 mL clear red solution in a single-dose vial. It should not be injected
through the intramuscular or subcutaneous route. The recommended adult dose is 100 to 120
mg/m2 administered as an intravenous bolus. Those getting this medication are advised to take
prophylactic antibiotic therapy.
The price of Epirubicin Hydrochloride
In the USA, the consumers have to pay around $50 for a supply of 25 milliliters of Epirubicin
intravenous solution containing 2 mg/ml. In India, the cost of the 500ml injection is USD 28USD.
How does Epirubicin Hydrochloride Work?
Epirubicin Hydrochloride actions inhibit DNA and RNA synthesis. It achieves this steric
obstruction as it intercalates between DNA base pairs triggering DNA cleavage. This is done by
topoisomerase ii. Epirubicin Hydrochloride generates cytotoxic free radicals while inhibiting DNA
helicase. It is rapidly and extensively distributed into body tissues.
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