Although hepatotoxicity is a frequent concern with all medications, chemotherapeutic agents are more often implicated in causing liver damage than most other drug classes. In many instances, these reactions are considered dose related because cytotoxic therapy directed at rapidly growing cancer cells may readily impact hepatocytes even though they are dividing more slowly. Because the stakes (remission of cancer) are high, so are the risks that the oncologist and the patient are willing to assume. The dose of many chemotherapeutic agents is limited by the toxic effects on the lungs, bone marrow, kidneys, and gastrointestinal system, including the liver. An awareness of the toxic potential of each chemotherapeutic agent is necessary before initiation of new oncologic treatments.
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