Streptozocin is one of the anticancer (antineoplastic) drugs called alkylating agents. It is available in the U.S. under the brand name Zanosar.
Streptozocin is primarily used to treat cancer of the pancreas, specifically advanced islet-cell carcinoma .
Streptozocin chemically interferes with the synthesis of the genetic material (DNA) of cancer cells, which prevents these cells from being able to reproduce.
Streptozocin is given by injection. The dosage prescribed varies widely depending on the patient, the cancer being treated, and whether or not other medications are also being taken.
Streptozocin carries a risk of renal (kidney) toxicity. While receiving streptozocin, patients are encouraged to drink extra fluids, since this can increase the amount of urine passed and help prevent kidney problems.
Streptozocin may cause an allergic reaction in some people. Patients with a prior allergic reaction to streptozocin should not take this medication.
Streptozocin also may cause serious birth defects if either the man or the woman is taking this drug at the time of conception or if the woman takes this drug during pregnancy. Streptozocin also may cause miscarriage.
It is not known whether streptozocin is passed from mother to child through breast milk. However, since many drugs are excreted in breast milk and since streptozocin has the potential to adversely affect an infant, breast feeding is not recommended while this medication is being taken.
Streptozocin suppresses the immune system (by damaging white blood cells) and interferes with the normal functioning of certain organs and tissues. For these reasons, it is important that the prescribing physician is aware of any of the following pre-existing medical conditions:
- a current case of, or recent exposure to, chicken pox
- diabetes mellitus
- herpes zoster (shingles)
- a current case, or history of, gout or kidney stones
- all current infections
- kidney disease
- liver disease
Also, because streptozocin damages white blood cells and platelets, patients taking this drug must exercise extreme caution to avoid contracting any new infections or sustaining any injuries that result in bruising or bleeding.
The common side effects of streptozocin include:
- loss of appetite (anorexia )
- nausea and vomiting
- increased susceptibility to infection and bleeding
- swelling of the feet or lower legs
- unusual decrease in urination
- temporary hair loss (alopecia )
Diarrhea is a less common side effect that may also occur.
Because streptozocin can damage the kidneys, liver, white blood cells, and platelets, patients taking this medication should be closely monitored for evidence of these adverse side effects. Laboratory tests, including renal function, urinalysis, complete blood count, and liver function, should be done at frequent intervals (approximately weekly) during drug therapy. If evidence of these adverse side effects is found, treatment with streptozocin may be discontinued or the dose may be decreased.
Streptozocin should not be taken in combination with any prescription drug, over-the-counter drug, or herbal remedy without prior consultation with a physician. It is particularly important that the prescribing physician be aware of the use of any of the following drugs:
- anti-infection drugs
- carmustine (an anticancer drug)
- cisplatin (an anticancer drug)
- cyclosporine (an immunosuppressive drug)
- deferoxamine (used to remove excess iron from the body)
- gold salts (used for arthritis)
- inflammation or pain medication other than narcotics
- narcotic pain medication containing acetaminophen (Tylenol) or aspirin
- lithium (used to treat bipolar disorder)
- methotrexate (an anticancer drug also used for rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis)
- penicillamine (used to treat Wilson's disease and rheumatoid arthritis)
- phenytoin (an anticonvulsant)
- plicamycin (an anticancer drug)
- tiopronin (used to prevent kidney stones)
See Also Pancreatic cancer, endocrine
Paul A. Johnson, Ed.M.
—A drug that prevents the growth of a neoplasm by interfering with the maturation or proliferation of the cells of the neoplasm.
—New abnormal growth of tissue.
"Streptozocin." Gale Encyclopedia of Cancer. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 9, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/medicine/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/streptozocin
"Streptozocin." Gale Encyclopedia of Cancer. . Retrieved December 09, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/medicine/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/streptozocin
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.