How does chemotherapy work?

Chemotherapy kills rapidly-dividing cells in a variety of ways, depending on the drug. Since there are many different types of cancers that all grow differently, many chemotherapy drugs have been developed to target these various growth patterns. Each drug has a different way of working and is effective at a specific time in the life cycle of the cell it targets.

For example, some chemotherapy drugs work by:

  • Damaging DNA
  • Preventing cells from dividing
  • Disrupting cellular metabolism or other critical functions