Temozolomide (TMZ) is a chemotherapy drug used to treat high grade brain tumours known as gliomas, particularly anaplastic astrocytoma (Grade 3) and glioblastoma (Grade 4). It has been shown to improve how long some people live with these types of fast-growing tumour.
TMZ is a type of chemotherapy drug known as an alkylating agent. This means it binds to the DNA in cells and interferes specifically with cell growth and division.
Unlike many other drugs, it is able to pass across the blood-brain barrier (BBB). This is a membrane of cells that blocks potentially harmful substances in the blood from entering the brain. Most other chemotherapy drugs are unable to pass across this membrane and reach the brain.
Sometimes, for some people, TMZ doesn't work so well. This depends to a large extent on the concentration and form of the MGMT protein (which repairs DNA) in the tumour.
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