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Vinorelbine (Navelbine) is a chemotherapy medicine made from the periwinkle plant that belongs to the family of plant agents called vinca alkaloids. It is a type of microtubule inhibitor chemotherapy. It is typically used to treat metastatic breast cancer.

How vinorelbine works

Vinorelbine works by blocking cancer cell growth by stopping mitosis, the process of cells dividing. It stops the forming of microtubules, the structures of the cell that help move the information inside them during cell division. Vinorelbine stops the cancer cells from dividing into new cells.

Who gets vinorelbine

Vinorelbine is typically used to treat metastatic breast cancer. It may be used for all types of breast cancer, including triple-negative metastatic breast cancer. It can also be used with targeted therapy, such as trastuzumab (Herceptin), to treat HER2-positive breast cancers.

How vinorelbine is given

Vinorelbine is given by vein once a week and may be used alone or with other chemotherapy medicines.

Side effects and things to remember

Common side effects include:

Before starting vinorelbine, tell your doctor about any medicines you are taking, including vitamins, herbal supplements and over-the-counter medicines, as well as any other medical conditions. You will have regular blood tests during treatment.

You should avoid becoming pregnant while you are receiving vinorelbine. Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant or may be pregnant while you are having treatment.

Your doctor, pharmacist or nurse can help you manage your side effects. You can also go to our section on Side Effects for more information.

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Reviewed and updated: August 31, 2015

Reviewed by: Laura Spring MD

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Living Beyond Breast Cancer is a national nonprofit organization that seeks to create a world that understands there is more than one way to have breast cancer. To fulfill its mission of providing trusted information and a community of support to those impacted by the disease, Living Beyond Breast Cancer offers on-demand emotional, practical, and evidence-based content. For over 30 years, the organization has remained committed to creating a culture of acceptance — where sharing the diversity of the lived experience of breast cancer fosters self-advocacy and hope. For more information, learn more about our programs and services.

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