Difference Between Cell Cycle Specific and Cell Cycle Nonspecific | Cell Cycle Specific vs Cell Cycle Nonspecific


The key difference between cell cycle specific and cell cycle nonspecific is that the cell cycle specific agents act on certain specific, predefined phases of the cell cycle of cancer cells. In contrast, cell cycle nonspecific agents act on all phases of the cell cycle including the resting phase.

Chemotherapeutic agents have immense use in the treatment of many diseases. Chemotherapeutic agents play a major role in cancer treatment. There are different categories of chemotherapeutic agents based on their chemical nature as well as their form of action against cancer cell proliferation. Hence, based on how they act on cancer cells, there are two types of chemotherapeutic agents as cell cycle specific chemotherapeutic agents and cell cycle nonspecific chemotherapeutic agents.

CONTENTS

1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Cell Cycle Specific 
3. What is Cell Cycle Nonspecific
4. Similarities Between Cell Cycle Specific and Cell Cycle Nonspecific
5. Side by Side Comparison – Cell Cycle Specific vs Cell Cycle Nonspecific in Tabular Form
6. Summary

What is Cell Cycle Specific?

Cell cycle specific chemotherapeutic agents are agents that act on certain predefined phases of the cell cycle. The specificity of these agents is very high. Moreover, cell cycle specific agents are very effective in killing tumor cells. As the tumor cells have high rates of proliferation, they pass through the phases rapidly and are vulnerable to the drug’s effects.

Difference Between Cell Cycle Specific and Cell Cycle Nonspecific | Cell Cycle Specific vs Cell Cycle Nonspecific

Figure 01: Chemotherapeutic Agents

The cell cycle specific chemotherapeutic agents are administered in multiple doses so that the effect is heightened. These specific drugs target specific cells, and they arrest the cell division at specific phases or points of the cell cycle. Therefore, the cell cycle specific agents can also be given for longer periods as chemotherapy infusions. However, cell cycle specific agents cannot act on the resting phase.

What is Cell Cycle Nonspecific?

Cell cycle nonspecific agents which are chemotherapeutics act on all phases of the cell cycle. It includes the resting phase as well. Therefore, the specificity of killing or destruction is less as some cells may pass the point of being attacked by the drug. Therefore, only slow proliferating cells are most effective against cell cycle nonspecific chemotherapeutic agents. Unlike cell cycle specific drugs, cell cycle nonspecific drugs are given in large doses. This bolus dosage is given over a short period of time so that it can kill as many possible numbers of cells.

What are the Similarities Between Cell Cycle Specific and Cell Cycle Nonspecific?

  • Cell cycle specific and cell cycle nonspecific agents work as chemotherapeutic agents in cancer treatment.
  • Administering of both are intravenous.
  • However, they may have side effects upon administering.
  • Both target the cell cycle of cells including tumor

What is the Difference Between Cell Cycle Specific and Cell Cycle Nonspecific?

Cell cycle specific agents and cell cycle nonspecific agents are two types of chemotherapeutic agents. Cell cycle specific agents work on specific phases of the cell cycle while cell cycle nonspecific agents work on all phases of the cell cycle without targeting a specific phase. So, this is the key difference between cell cycle specific and cell cycle nonspecific. Generally, cell cycle specific agents have a high specificity while cell cycle nonspecific agents have a low specificity. Therefore, we can consider this too as a significant difference between cell cycle specific and cell cycle nonspecific.

Moreover, cell cycle specific agents do not act on the resting phase of the cell while cell cycle nonspecific agents act on the resting phase of the cell. Thus, this is also a difference between cell cycle specific and cell cycle nonspecific. Below illustration summarizes the difference between cell cycle specific and cell cycle nonspecific.

Difference Between Cell Cycle Specific and Cell Cycle Nonspecific | Cell Cycle Specific vs Cell Cycle Nonspecific

Summary – Cell Cycle Specific vs Cell Cycle Nonspecific

Chemotherapeutic agents have immense use in cancer therapy. The agents that target the cell cycle of these tumor cells are two categories as cell cycle specific agents and cell cycle nonspecific agents. Cell cycle specific chemotherapeutic agents act on specific phases of the cell cycle excluding the resting phase. In contrast, cell cycle nonspecific agents act on all phases of the cell cycle including the resting phase. There are also differences based on the dosage and period of administration for the two types of agents. The effectiveness of killing is higher in cell cycle specific agents in comparison to cell cycle nonspecific agents. Thus, this is the summary of the difference between cell cycle specific and cell cycle nonspecific.

Reference:

1. “Types of Chemotherapy.” Dexamethasone – Drug Information – Chemocare, Available here.

Image Courtesy:

1. “Chemotherapy bottles NCI” By National Cancer Institute, an agency part of the National Institutes of Health, (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia