Mitoxantrone: A novel anthracycline derivative

J. Koeller, M. Eble

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    61 Scopus citations


    The chemistry, pharmacology, pharmacokinetics, clinical efficacy, dosage and administration, and adverse effects of mitoxantrone are reviewed. Mitoxantrone, an aminoanthraquinone that was synthesized in 1979, belongs to a new chemical class of agents known as the anthracenediones. It possesses antiviral, antibacterial, immunomodulatory, and antitumor activity. The drug's antitumor activity is attributed to its interaction with DNA topoisomerase II, and its interaction with human cells may also involve nonintercalary, electrostatic interactions. Mitoxantrone is poorly absorbed orally and is most commonly administered intravenously. The drug is rapidly distributed into the red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets, followed by deep-tissue sequestration. Mitoxantrone has demonstrated clinical efficacy in the treatment of leukemia, lymphoma, and breast cancer. As a single agent, mitoxantrone has a response rate of roughly 30% in acute nonlymphocytic leukemia or acute myeloid leukemia. In combination with other standard agents (cytarabine, vincristine, and prednisone), the response rate may reach 60%. In breast cancer, mitoxantrone's response rate as a single agent is 25-30%, while combination regimens produce response rates of 60% or more. The drug can cause cardiotoxicity with cumulative doses. Other adverse effects include myelosuppression, nausea and vomiting, stomatitis, mucositis, and alopecia. The cost of mitoxantrone is comparable to that of doxorubicin, but it is substantially more expensive than daunorubicin. Mitoxantrone is an important new agent with antitumor activity in leukemia, lymphoma, and breast cancer. In most situations, mitoxantrone will be considered second-line treatment or a restricted-use item because of its high cost and because of the lack of FDA approval for indications other than acute nonlymphocytic leukemia.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)574-581
    Number of pages8
    JournalClinical pharmacy
    Issue number8
    StatePublished - Jan 1 1988

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Pharmaceutical Science


    Dive into the research topics of 'Mitoxantrone: A novel anthracycline derivative'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this