Capecitabine is a type of chemotherapeutic drug called a fluoropyrimidine, which works by being an anti-metabolite. Anti-metabolite drugs block the production or breakdown of certain molecules in the body.
Cancer cells convert capecitabine to 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), a chemotherapeutic drug. Then the cancer cells convert 5-FU to related chemicals that block the synthesis of DNA, RNA, and protein and inhibit the multiplication of the cancer cells.
Some women with breast cancer of Stage IIIB and higher or recurrent breast cancer receive adjuvant (i.e., post-surgical) treatment with capecitabine alone or in combination with other types of chemotherapeutic drugs. For example, some women with breast cancer of Stage IIIB and higher or recurrent breast cancer receive adjuvant treatment with capecitabine and the taxane, docetaxel.