Nephrotoxicity associated with ciprofloxacin is uncommon. Five patients with cancer who developed acute renal failure that followed treatment with ciprofloxacin are described and an additional 15 cases reported in the literature are reviewed. Other than elevation of serum creatinine levels, characteristic clinical manifestations and abnormal laboratory findings are not frequently present. Allergic interstitial nephritis is believed to be the underlying pathological process. Definitive diagnosis requires performance of renal biopsy, although this is not always feasible. An improvement in renal function that followed the discontinuation of the offending antibiotic supports the presumptive diagnosis of ciprofloxacin-induced acute renal failure.(Arch Intern Med. When I first heard people referring to fluoroquinolone antibiotics (Cipro, Levaquin, Avelox, Floxin and a few others) as “chemotherapy drugs,” I thought that they were exaggerating or incorrect. After all, fluoroquinolones are used to treat urinary tract infections, traveler’s diarrhea, anthrax, and other bacterial infections, not cancer. But then I started to do some research into how fluoroquinolones work and I discovered that they cause mitochondrial damage, which leads to oxidative stress and cell death (1, 2), they interfere with the DNA replication process of mitochondria (3), they disrupt tubulin assembly (4) and that they are being investigated for their tumor killing abilities (5, 6). I also found that all other drugs that have the same mechanism for action as fluoroquinolones – topoisomerase interrupters (FDA warning label, 7) (topoisomerases are necessary for proper DNA replication) – are used as chemotherapy drugs – topotecan, amsacrine, etoposide, etc. Fluoroquinolones are, truly, chemotherapy drugs – they just happen to be used as popular antibiotics. They can kill cancerous tumor cells because, in addition to killing bacterial cells, they also kill eukaryotic cells (8, 9). There are almost certainly some legitimate and reasonable uses for fluoroquinolones as chemotherapy drugs (10).
Int J Oncol. 2003 Apr;224787-94. Suppression of human prostate cancer cell growth by ciprofloxacin is associated with cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. Aranha. After all, fluoroquinolones are used to treat urinary tract infections, traveler's diarrhea, anthrax, and other bacterial infections, not cancer.