Troxacitabine (Troxatyl; BCH-4556; (-)-2′-deoxy-3′- oxacytadine) is the first synthetic L-nucleoside enantiomer to demonstrate broad spectrum cytotoxic activity. It was obtained by exchanging the sulphur endocyclic atom with oxygen in the structure of lamivudine, following the discovery that this agent had cytotoxic, as well as anti-viral activity. The unique "unnatural" stereochemistry of troxacitabine has produced impressive cytotoxic potency against a wide range of malignancies in the laboratory which led to its selection for clinical development. The initial trials with troxacitabine have established its efficacy in both solid and haematological malignancies, including those resistant to ara-C (cytarabine). This review will consider troxacitabine in terms of its pharmacology, mode of action, pharmacokinetics, toxicities, and clinical efficacy.
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