Cancer Home > Irinotecan for Ovarian Cancer

Irinotecan (Camptosar®) is a type of chemotherapy medication that is approved for use in people with colon or rectal cancer that has spread to other areas of the body. However, a healthcare provider may also prescribe this drug for unapproved, or "off-label," uses as well.
 
For example, using this drug to treat ovarian cancer is one possible off-label use of irinotecan. In fact, this medication may be used off-label to treat a number of other cancers, such as cervical cancer or lung cancer.
 
As a type of topoisomerase I inhibitor, irinotecan works by binding to a certain enzyme (topoisomerase I) and preventing the enzyme from repairing certain breaks in the DNA. This prevents the DNA from duplicating and causes the cell to die.
 
(For more details on using this drug for ovarian cancer, click What Is Irinotecan Used For?. This article covers other possible uses for the medication and explains whether it is safe for use in children.)
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Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
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