What is it?

Danuorubicin is a chemotherapy drug, see chemotherapy sheet for background information. Chemotherapy kills cancerous cells which divide and grow rapidly. However healthy cells which grow quickly are also affected by the chemotherapy which is why patients can get side effects.


What is it used for?

Danuorubicin is used to treat acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and acute myeloid leukaemia.


How does it work?

Danuorubicin binds to DNA within cancerous cells, this stops the cell from dividing and kills the cancerous cells.


How is it given?

Danuorubicin is not available in tablet form, it has to be injected into a vein. This is either by a small tube going into a vein called a cannula, which is removed after the injection is finished. The other option is to have the drug given by a long line, which is a longer tube inserted into a vein and is kept in place for a few weeks. The drug is given on the Haematology Day Unit, or occasionally on the ward as an in-patient.


What are the most important side effects?

The most important side effect to be aware of is neutropenic sepsis. This will be explained to you before you start treatment. Chemotherapy affects the bone marrow so that blood cells are not produced in the normal way. This is only temporary, but leaves the body vulnerable to infection as the immune system will not be able to fight against infection in the normal way. Therefore please read the neutropenic sepsis page for full information about what to do if you feel unwell.

Danuorubicin is red coloured and may cause your urine to turn to an orange colour. This does not cause any harm to your body.
Danuorubicin can cause hair loss which will be discussed with you before you start treatment, hair loss is temporary.

Like most chemotherapy drugs danuorubicin can cause nausea, vomiting, constipation or diarrhoea. Other medications are often used when chemotherapy is given to minimise these side effects.


Further information

Danuorubicin at Macmillian cancer support



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Written by: Dr T Rider

Editor: Dr J Newman

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