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dacarbazine  (duh-KAR-buh-zeen) is a drug used to treat Hodgkin lymphoma that did not get better with other anticancer drugs. It is also used to treat melanoma that has spread to other parts of the body. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Dacarbazine damages the cell’s DNA and may kill cancer cells. It is a type of alkylating agent.

Information about Dacarbazine

Dacarbazine (also known as DTIC) is an intravenously administered alkylating agent used in the therapy of Hodgkin disease and malignant melanoma.  Dacarbazine therapy has been associated with serum enzyme elevations during therapy and occasional cases of severe and distinctive acute hepatic failure, probably caused by acute sinusoidal obstruction syndrome.

Mechanism of action of Dacarbazine

Dacarbazine (da kar' ba zeen) is a triazene analogue of 5-aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide, a precursor in purine biosynthesis.  Its mechanism of action in cancer chemotherapy is unclear.  Dacarbazine may act as a purine analogue and antimetabolite.  In addition, it is extensively metabolized in the liver and produces intermediates some of which have alkylating activity, causing methylation, modification and cross linking of DNA, thus inhibiting DNA, RNA and protein synthesis.  Dacarbazine is popularly known as DTIC and was approved for use in the United States in 1975.  Current indications include Hodgkin lymphoma and metastatic malignant melanoma usually in combination with other antineoplastic agents

Dosage and administration for Dacarbazine

Dacarbazine is available for injection in vials of 10 mg/mL and the recommended doses varies by indication and body weight (2 to 4.5 mg/kg/day or 150 mg/m2/day).  Dacarbazine is given by intravenous infusion typically for five to ten days in cycles of every 3 to 4 weeks. 

Side effects of Dacarbazine

  • Common side effects are hypotension, alopecia, anoxia, nausea, vomiting, headache, peripheral neuropathy, and flu-like illness. 
  • Rare potentially severe adverse events include severe bone marrow suppression, neutropenia, sepsis, embryo-fetal toxicity and de novo cancinogenesis from long term use.

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