What Is Epirubicin Used For?
Epirubicin is used for treating breast cancer, specifically to prevent the cancer from returning after surgery. The medication also appears to be effective in treating other types of cancer. "Off-label" epirubicin uses include the treatment of lung cancer, liver cancer, stomach cancer, and multiple myeloma.
Epirubicin hydrochloride (Ellence®) is a prescription medication used to treat breast cancer. It is part of a group of medications called anthracyclines. Specifically, epirubicin is approved to help prevent breast cancer from returning after breast cancer surgery (with or without radiation) in people whose cancer had spread to axillary lymph nodes (lymph nodes in the underarm).
Epirubicin is used in combination with other chemotherapy medications (in a chemotherapy "regimen").
Epirubicin is part of a group of medications called anthracyclines. Anthracyclines kill cells (including cancer cells and normal cells) by working in several ways. Epirubicin binds to DNA in cells, changing the shape of the DNA and causing other problems with the DNA. The medication can damage the membranes (outer coating) of cells and may damage other parts of cells as well.
While epirubicin can kill both healthy and cancerous cells, it has a greater effect on cells that are multiplying rapidly. Generally, cancer cells multiply more rapidly than healthy cells and are, therefore, more affected by epirubicin.
Epirubicin is not approved for use in children. Children may be more sensitive to epirubicin side effects. Talk to your healthcare provider about the benefits and risks of using epirubicin in children.