Lung Cancer Home > What Is Mechlorethamine Used For?
Mechlorethamine is a chemotherapy drug approved to treat a number of blood and bone marrow cancers, as well as lung cancer and metastatic cancer that has caused fluid accumulation in a body cavity. Mechlorethamine may also be used for off-label reasons, such as treating certain skin lesions, brain tumors, or rare skin conditions.
An Overview of Uses for MechlorethamineMechlorethamine (Mustargen®) is a prescription chemotherapy medication. It belongs to a group of medicines called alkylating agents. There are several types of alkylating agents. Mechlorethamine is a type of alkylating agent known as a nitrogen mustard.
Mechlorethamine is approved to treat several types of cancer, primarily cancers of the blood and bone marrow. More specifically, the medication is approved to treat the following cancers:
- Hodgkin's disease (also known as Hodgkin's lymphoma)
- Lymphomas (Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma)
- Chronic myelocytic leukemia (also called chronic myelogenous leukemia)
- Chronic lymphocytic leukemia
- Polycythemia vera (a cancer of the bone marrow that leads to an abnormally high number of red blood cells)
- Mycosis fungoides (also called Sézary syndrome), a rare lymphoma that affects the skin
- Bronchogenic carcinoma (lung cancer).
Mechlorethamine is also approved to treat metastatic cancer associated with effusion. Metastatic cancer is cancer that has spread from its original site to other areas of the body. Effusion occurs when excess fluid builds up in the space between membranes that line body organs, such as the lungs or abdomen (stomach).
In some cases, metastatic cancer may cause effusion, and cancer cells may be found in the excess fluid. When used to treat effusion from metastatic cancer, mechlorethamine is given directly into body cavities, such as the lining of the lungs, heart, or abdomen (stomach).
Mechlorethamine is considered a palliative treatment. Palliative treatment is treatment that is aimed at reducing symptoms of a condition to make a person more comfortable, and improving quality of life. Palliative treatment does not cure a disease. Therefore, mechlorethamine is not expected to cure cancer.