Antineoplastic drugs are medications used to treat cancer. Antineoplastic drugs are also called anticancer, chemotherapy, chemo, cytotoxic, or hazardous drugs. These drugs come in many forms. Some are liquids that are injected into the patient, and some are pills that patients take.
There are much wider definitions that encompass every type of drug.
Antineoplastic agents or anticancer drugs represent a large and diverse class of medications. The antineoplastic agents are not easily classified. Historically, they are categorized as (1) alkylating agents, (2) antimetabolites, (3) natural products, (4) hormones and antagonists, and (5) miscellaneous. In recent years, however, the miscellaneous group has come to include some of the most important agents. Anticancer agents can also be classified by indication (lymphoma, leukemia, melanoma, solid tumor), mechanism of action (such as alkylating agents, antibiotics, biological response modifiers, antiandrogens, topoisomerase inhibitors or protein kinase inhibitors), chemical structure (folic acid analog, platinum coordination complex, purine or pyrimidine analog, monoclonal antibody) or as cytotoxic or nonspecific vs noncytotoxic or targeted.
To indicate that all antineoplastic drugs are “chemotherapy” seems outdated in the 21st century.