What is Deoxycytidine?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
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  • Last Modified Date: 11 October 2019
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Deoxycytidine is a compound found naturally in the body with applications in the treatment of some kinds of cancers. This compound is involved in the expression and regulation of cellular DNA, making it a topic of interest among cancer researchers, as such compounds can play a role in the development and proliferation of tumors in the body. Patients interested in accessing deoxycytidine therapy can look up current clinical trials to see if there are any open trials available, or ask their doctors about available medications for treating their cancers.

This compound contains cytosine and deoxyribose and is the base for a number of different chemical compounds found in the body. It is capable of preventing the duplication and division of cells by controlling gene expression. In cancer treatment, this has clear applications, as the drug could be administered to stop tumors from growing and limit the growth of cancerous tumors. Deoxycytidine can target specific kinds of cells, allowing researchers to focus on cancer cells while leaving healthy tissue alone.


Chemotherapy drugs incorporating deoxycytidine are often made synthetically in the form of analogs, where part of the structure of the compound is replaced to make it more effective and target specific cells. Related compounds can be used as chemoprotective agents, drugs administered to shield healthy cells from chemotherapeutic agents. Many of these medications are very dangerous to healthy cells. A doctor can prescribe a protective medication to reduce the risk of side effects and complications, increasing patient comfort and making successful treatment more likely.

This compound appears in a number of derivatives, also produced naturally by the body in addition to being built synthetically in labs. Researchers work with these compounds to learn more about the expression of cellular DNA and the interactions of enzymes in individual cells with compounds they are exposed to. Deficiencies in certain deoxycytidine-related enzymes, for example, can make tumors resistant to chemotherapy.

Researchers who need access to deoxycytidine and associated compounds can order it from a lab or produce it synthetically, if they have the facilities to do so. Ordering through a lab can have advantages, as labs use very tight measures for quality control, reducing the risks of contamination and other problems. People who produce their own will need to document the process carefully, especially if they are generating work for publication, to make sure their research is replicable and understandable. If errors are made, the research is less valuable and may be rejected during peer review.


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