Camptothecins are a family of alkaloids originally extracted from the Chinese tree Camptotheca acuminata, Nyssaceae, exhibiting a strong activity against colorectal cancer (CRC). CRC is a common malignancy worlwide. Despite significant developments in the treatment of this disease, it still causes considerable morbidity and mortality. Recent advances include both newer cytotoxic chemotherapies and novel biological agents including the more hydrosoluble camptothecin derivative, namely irinotecan. Camptothecin and irinotecan are selective human topoisomerase I inhibitors but their application for curing CRC is compromised by their intrinsic high toxicity, insolubility and instability. Furthermore, pharmacology studies have determined that continuously and prolonged schedules of administration are required. The aim of this work is to review the state of the art of camptothecin and its derivative irinotecans delivery methods.
Keywords: Camptothecin, irinotecan, topotecan, colorectal cancer (CRC), Topoisomerase I (TOP I), pro-drugs, multi-wall carbon nanotubes, nanoemulsions, Drug eluting beads, liposomes, Micelles, Miniemulsions
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