Mitoxantrone, More than Just Another Topoisomerase II Poison Academic Article uri icon


  • Mitoxantrone is a synthetic anthracenedione originally developed to improve the therapeutic profile of the anthracyclines and is commonly applied in the treatment of breast and prostate cancers, lymphomas, and leukemias. A comprehensive overview of the drug's molecular, biochemical, and cellular pharmacology is presented here, beginning with the cardiotoxic nature of its predecessor doxorubicin and how these properties shaped the pharmacology of mitoxantrone itself. Although mitoxantrone is firmly established as a DNA topoisomerase II poison within mammalian cells, it is now clear that the drug interacts with a much broader range of biological macromolecules both covalently and noncovalently. Here, we consider each of these interactions in the context of their wider biological relevance to cancer therapy and highlight how they may be exploited to further enhance the therapeutic value of mitoxantrone. In doing so, it is now clear that mitoxantrone is more than just another topoisomerase II poison.

publication date

  • 2016