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Daunorubicin Hydrochloride


The daunorubicin hydrochloride is the salt of an anthracycline antineoplastic antibiotic with therapeutic effects. Daunorubicin shows cytotoxic activity through topoisomerase-mediated interaction with DNA. This helps in DNA replication and repair and RNA and protein synthesis. Daunorubicin is used with other chemotherapy drugs to treat a certain type of acute myeloid leukaemia (AML; a type of cancer of the white blood cells). Daunorubicin is also used with other chemotherapy drugs to treat a certain type of acute lymphocytic leukaemia (a type of cancer of the white blood cells). Daunorubicin is called anthracyclines in a class of medications. It works by slowing or stopping the growth of cancer cells in your body.

Daunorubicin hydrochloride comes as a solution (liquid) or as a powder to be mixed with liquid to be injected intravenously (into a vein) by a doctor or nurse in a medical facility along with other chemotherapy medications. For treating AML, daunorubicin is usually injected once a day on certain days of the patient’s treatment period. When daunorubicin is used to treat Treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), it is usually injected once a week. How long the treatment will continue depends on various factors like the length of treatment, how well your body responds to them, and the type of cancer you have.

Similar to doxorubicin, daunorubicin hydrochloride interacts with DNA by intercalation and inhibition of macromolecular biosynthesis. This inhibits the progression of the enzyme topoisomerase II,  which relaxes supercoils in DNA for transcription. Daunorubicin stabilizes the topoisomerase II complex by breaking the DNA chain for replication, preventing the DNA double helix from being resealed and thus stopping the process of replication. It has the highest preference for two adjacent G/C base pairs flanked on the 5′ side by an A/T base pair. Crystallography shows that daunomycin induces a local unwinding angle of 8°, and other conformational disturbances of adjacent and second-neighbor base pairs. It induces histone eviction from chromatin upon intercalation.  


Daunorubicin was approved for medical use in the United States in 1979. World Health Organization has listed daunorubicin in its essential medicines.  It was originally isolated from bacteria of the Streptomyces type.

In the 1950s, an Italian research company, Farmitalia Research Laboratories, began an organized effort to isolate anticancer compounds from soil-based microbes. A soil sample was isolated from the area surrounding the Castel del Monte, a 13th-century castle in Apulia. A new strain of Streptomyces peucetius which produced a red pigment was isolated, and an antibiotic was produced from this bacterium that was found to have good activity against murine tumours. Since a group of French researchers discovered the same compound at about the same time, the two teams named the compound daunorubicin, combining the name Dauni, a pre-Roman tribe that occupied the area of Italy where the compound was isolated, with the French word for ruby, rubis, describing the color. Clinical trials began in the 1960s, and the drug saw success in treating acute leukaemia and lymphoma.

 Side effects:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sores in the mouth and throat
  • Diarrhoea
  • Stomach pain
  • Hair loss
  • Red urine

Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms call your doctor immediately:

  • Redness, pain, swelling or burning at the site where the injection was given
  • Rash
  • Hives
  • Itching
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing


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