Guess I should do a disclaimer: I pieced together the following information about chemo drugs from many sources: books, pamphlets, and sheets they gave us at the hospital, the Merck Index CD ROM in the university library, the Cambridge Soft Chemfinder Web site and links radiating out from there, sites from Net Searches, the Web sites below, out-dated biochemistry texts, and a few unnamed sources. I've done my very best to present the information accurately, but I could have made mistakes. So please don't sue me.
The majority of the chemotherapy drugs used in the 1990s belong to the general group of medicines known as "antineoplastics". [Say anti-nee-oh-PLAS-tics.] Simply, "against neoplastics", neoplastics being cancer cells. Most antineoplastics work by stopping cell division in one or another stage of the cell cycle. They cause cell death in any dividing cell, and since most human cells are not dividing all the time, they preferentially kill cancer cells. But any human cells that divide frequently are also killed, for instance, cells in the gastrointestional tract, bone marrow cells, and hair follicles. Cell deaths of these non-cancerous cells cause numerous side effects, such as nausea, immune system suppression, and hair loss. The non-cancer cells rebound once the drug treatment is discontinued. But the killed cancer cells stay dead - the trick is to get all of the cancer cells while minimizing the effect on normal cells.
My takes on the actions and side effects of the following chemotherapy drugs (used in CCG 1961 arm B late 1990s, ALL treatment, rapid early responder treatment track):
The official word on chemotherapy agents is available on the following sites:
Here is a link to a page that calculates Body Surface Area and descriptive statistics plus medication doses.