n. any of a class of antibiotic, chemotherapeutic agents used to treat cancer
Anthracyclines (or anthracycline antibiotics) are a class of drugs (CCNS or cell-cycle non-specific) used in cancer chemotherapy derived from Streptomyces bacterium Streptomyces peucetius var. caesius.
The anthracyclines are among the most effective anticancer treatments ever developed and are effective against more types of cancer than any other class of chemotherapeutic agents. Their main adverse effect is cardiotoxicity, which considerably limits their usefulness. Use of anthracyclines has also been shown to be significantly associated with cycle 1 severe or febrile neutropenia. Other adverse effects include vomiting.
The first anthracycline discovered was daunorubicin (trade name Daunomycin), which is produced naturally by Streptomyces peucetius, a species of actinobacteria. Doxorubicin (trade name Adriamycin) was developed shortly after, and many other related compounds have followed, although few are in clinical use.