A group of drugs used in the treatment of certain forms of malignant disease. Chemically, they closely resemble substances (or METABOLITES) which are essential for the life and growth of CELLS. Antimetabolites are incorporated into new nuclear material in the cell or combine irreversibly with essential cellular enzymes, thus disrupting normal cellular division (see MITOSIS and MEIOSIS) and causing death of the cell. There is now a range of antimetabolites including CYTARABINE, METHOTREXATE, FLUOROURACIL and MERCAPTOPURINE.
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