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To understand how CAMPTOSAR works, it is important to understand how cancer damages the human body and how drugs can interfere with cancer growth.

Cancer and Cancer Drugs

In many ways, cancer cells are like the healthy cells in your body. And like the healthy cells, cancer cells need resources, such as food and other building blocks, to survive and to reproduce. An important difference is that cancer cells are uncontrollable and copy themselves more quickly than many healthy cells. As the cancer cells spread, they steal the building blocks from the surrounding healthy cells, which makes it hard for the healthy cells to live.

All healthy cells have specific jobs they have to do to keep your body functioning and healthy. Each cell must have a chain of instructions to follow in order to do its job and to reproduce. This instruction chain is called DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). One important function of most healthy cells is to reproduce, and the first step of reproduction is to copy that instruction chain—the DNA.

Many cancer drugs (or chemotherapy) work by stopping this first step in cell reproduction. Some drugs act like fragile building blocks, which make it easy to break the DNA. Others interfere with the tools (enzymes) used to build new DNA. Because these drugs prevent new cells from being made, they help to prevent cancer cells from spreading.

cell dividing

Copying the DNA is the first step in making a new cell.


Copying DNA is a delicate procedure - it's like building a house of cards; if one card is misplaced, the whole thing crumbles. It's the same with copying DNA; if one step is missed or changed in any way, the cell could be injured or die.

Two special enzymes prevent dangerous mistakes and make sure the correct steps are taken to build new DNA. Many drugs may stop one of these enzymes from working, but CAMPTOSAR is one of the first drugs available that can stop the other enzyme. CAMPTOSAR interferes with the enzyme, so it makes mistakes in copying the DNA. When enough mistakes happen, the cell dies. Since most cancer cells reproduce and copy DNA quickly, they are usually the cells mainly affected by CAMPTOSAR.

In clinical trials, doctors gave CAMPTOSAR to research volunteers who had cancer of the colon or rectum that had already spread beyond the colon or rectum, so they couldn't be cured by surgery. The volunteers in these clinical studies already had tried chemotherapy with another drug, fluorouracil, but it didn't work or stopped working for them. In about one out of seven of these clinical study volunteers, CAMPTOSAR substantially reduced the size of the tumors.

Treatment With CAMPTOSAR

CAMPTOSAR is given intravenously (in the vein) and is carried through the bloodstream to the liver. In the liver, CAMPTOSAR is changed to a stronger or more active form known as a metabolite, which allows it to kill cancer cells more effectively.

Patients are treated intravenously for 90 minutes, once a week for 4 weeks. Then they do not receive treatment for 2 weeks. After this 2-week rest, another cycle of therapy (4 weekly treatments) can begin.

Full Prescribing Information

Receiving an IV

CAMPTOSAR is usually given intravenously for 90 minutes per treatment.

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