Medicine & USMLE


Anti-Neoplastic Drugs
  1. Cyclophosphamide
  2. Methotrexate
  3. Tamoxifen
  4. Cisplatin
  5. Doxorubicin
  6. Imatinib
  7. Paclitaxel
  8. Rituximab
  9. Trastuzumab
  10. Vincristine


Vincristine and vinblastine are chemotherapy agents used to treat a variety of cancers. They are antimicrotubules agents, which means that they work by inhibiting the function of microtubules. Both drugs cause generic side effects seen with all chemotherapies like bone marrow suppression and GI upset. More specific to vincristine and vinblastine is the finding of neurotoxicity, and any neurological symptoms should be reported to the provider.

Key Points

  • Vincristine, Vinblastine
    • Mechanism
      • Vinca alkaloids
        • Antimicrotubule compounds that interfere with cell mitosis
    • Clinical Use
      • Cancer / Chemotherapy
        • Breast cancer
        • Leukemias
        • Lymphomas
        • Multiple myeloma
        • Brain tumors
    • Side Effects and Adverse Reactions
      • Neurotoxicity
        • Signs of neurotoxicity should be reported to the provider
        • Neuropathy / numbness
        • Sensory loss
        • Paresthesias
        • Difficulty walking
        • Hyporeflexia
        • These symptoms usually resolve after completion of treatment
      • Common chemotherapy side effects
        • Bone marrow suppression
          • Common side effect of many chemotherapeutic drugs due to damage of rapidly-dividing blood cell progenitors
          • Leads to anemia (low red blood cells)
            • Fatigue, dyspnea, pallor
          • Leads to leukopenia (low white blood cells)
            • Increased risk for infection
          • Leads to thrombocytopenia (low platelets)
            • Petechiae, purpura, bleeding
        • GI disturbances
          • Nausea, vomiting, anorexia, diarrhea
          • Common side effect of many chemotherapeutic drugs due to damage of rapidly-dividing gut wall
          • An antiemetic may be ordered prior to chemotherapy
        • Alopecia (hair loss)