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Back to Oncology Drug index

Back to Antibiotics


Actinomycin D, ACT

Pregnancy Category C

Drug classes


Mechanism of action

Cytotoxic: inhibits synthesis of messenger RNA, causing cell death; cell cycle nonspecific.


  1. Wilms' tumor
  2. Rhabdomyosarcoma
  3. Netastatic and nonmetastatic choriocarcinoma
  4. Ewing's sarcoma
  5. Sarcoma botryoides
  6. Nonseminomatous testicular carcinoma
  7. Potentiation of effects of radiation therapy


  1. Allergy to dactinomycin
  2. Chickenpox
  3. Herpes zoster (severe, generalized disease and death could result)
  4. Pregnancy
  5. Lactation

Use caution in the presence of bone marrow suppression, radiation therapy.

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Adverse effects

  • GI: Cheilitis, dysphagia, esophagitis, ulcerative stomatitis, pharyngitis, anorexia, abdominal pain, diarrhea, GI ulceration, proctitis, nausea, vomiting, hepatic abnormalities
  • Hematologic: Anemia, aplastic anemia, agranulocytosis, leukopenia, thrombocytopenia, pancytopenia, reticulopenia
  • Dermatologic: Alopecia, skin eruptions, acne, erythema, increased pigmentation of GU renal abnormalities
  • Local: Tissue necrosis at sites of extravasation
  • Other: Malaise, fever, fatigue, lethargy, myalgia, hypocalcemia, death, increased incidence of second primary tumors when used with radiation

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