International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) - Summaries & Evaluations


VOL.: 26 (1981) (p. 97)

5. Summary of Data Reported and Evaluation

5.1 Experimental data

No adequate study on the carcinogenicity of bleomycins in experimental animals was available to the Working Group.

No data were available to evaluate the teratogenic potential of bleomycin in animals. It is mutagenic in yeast and in Drosophila melanogaster. It induces chromosomal changes and increases in sister chromatid exchanges in various mammalian cells in culture. The drug also induced neoplastic transformation in a mouse cell line.

5.2 Human data

Bleomycin sulphate or hydrochloride has been used since the early 1970s, mainly in the treatment of Hodgkin's and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, squamous-cell carcinoma at various sites and testicular malignancies.

No data were available to evaluate the teratogenic potential of bleomycin in humans. Chromosomal changes were seen in bone-marrow cells and peripheral lymphocytes of patients treated with bleomycin alone. No data were available to evaluate its mutagenic potential in humans.

The development of acute nonlymphocytic leukaemia following the administration of bleomycin with multiple other cytotoxic agents has been described in patients with Hodgkin's disease or non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. In a small epidemiological study of short duration, no excess of subsequent neoplasms was observed in patients treated with a regimen consisting of bleomycin, adriamycin, vinblastine and dacarbazine.

5.3 Evaluation

The available data from studies in experimental animals and in humans were inadequate to evaluate the carcinogenicity of bleomycins to man.

Subsequent evaluation: Suppl. 7 (1987)

Last updated: 8 April 1998

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