What Is Cyclophosphamide Used For?

How Does Cyclophosphamide Work?

Cyclophosphamide is part of a group of medications called alkylating agents. Cyclophosphamide itself is not active against cancer, but it is metabolized by the liver into its active form. The active form causes "cross-linking" of DNA cells. When DNA is cross-linked, it can no longer function properly. Since DNA is essential for cells to grow and multiply, alkylating medications prevent cell growth and multiplication and may cause cell death.
 
While cyclophosphamide 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 cyclophosphamide.
 
Cyclophosphamide also suppresses the immune system, which is probably how it works to treat nephrotic syndrome.
 

Cyclophosphamide Uses in Children

Cyclophosphamide is approved to treat leukemia and nephritic syndrome in children. Talk with your healthcare provider about the benefits and risks of using cyclophosphamide in children.
 

Off-Label Cyclophosphamide Uses

On occasion, your healthcare provider may recommend cyclophosphamide for treating something other than the conditions listed in this article. This is known as using the medication for "off-label" purposes. There are several off-label cyclophosphamide uses, such as the treatment of:
 
  • Aplastic anemia
  • Behcet's syndrome
  • Organ transplants (to prevent rejection)
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus ("lupus" or SLE).
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Cyclophosphamide for Cancer Treatment

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