Ifosfamide (chemotherapy drug)

ifosfamide molecule
Ifosfamide molecular structure

by Ross Bonander

The cyotoxic chemotherapy drug ifosfamide is widely used in modern anticancer treatments against a broad range of tumors and cancers. Ifosfamide is molecularly very similar to cyclophosphamide (the active form of both drugs is the same in the body), and it is an immunosuppressive agent.

Drug profile

  • Class: Oxazophosphorine alkalyting agent
  • Mechanism of action: Ifosfamide inhibits protein and DNA synthesis during cell division.
  • Treatment type: Chemotherapy
  • US approval: 1988
  • Synonyms: IFEX
  • FDA Use-in-Pregnancy Rating: Category D

What it's effective for and why

Ifosfamide is used in the treatment of recurrent germ cell tumors, testicular cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, osteosarcoma, Ewing's sarcoma, some brain tumors, and certain subtypes of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, such as Burkitt's lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (also known as small lymphocytic lymphoma).

Ifosfamide is part of the combination chemotherapy regimen ICE, which is used as a preparative regimen for bone marrow transplantations.

Side effects: Overview

While each patient will have his or her own experiences with the side effects of ifosfamide, common side effects of this drug include allergic reactions, leukopenia, encephalopathy, blood in the urine, back pain, frequent or painful urination, fever, chills, sore throat, fatigue, hallucination, unusual bruising, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and hair loss.

Most of these side effects should subside when one is finished with receiving ifosfamide. All patients are encouraged to report each of their side effects to their oncologist or oncology team.


  • Boyiadzis, Michael M. et al. Hematology-Oncology Therapy. 2007. New York: McGraw Hill, Medical Publishing Division.
  • Cancer Drug Manual, BC Cancer Agency
  • Perry, Michael C, Editor. Companion Handbook to the Chemotherapy Sourcebook. 1999. Baltimore; Williams & Wilkins.
  • Drugs.com: Ifosfamide

Significant studies relating to ifosfamide


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