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


VOL.: 26 (1981) (p. 137)

5. Summary of Data Reported and Evaluation

5.1 Experimental data

CCNU is carcinogenic in rats following its intraperitoneal or intravenous injection, producing lung carcinomas. It was also tested in mice by intraperitoneal injection; a slight increase in the incidence of lymphomas was observed.

CCNU can induce embryo- and fetolethality in rats and rabbits at doses nontoxic to the mother and a variety of severe teratogenic effects in rats.

It is mutagenic in Salmonella typhimurium and in Chinese hamster lung cells.

5.2 Human data

CCNU has had limited use since the early 1970s in the treatment of lymphomas and carcinomas, usually in conjunction with other antineoplastic drugs.

The frequency of sister chromatid exchanges is increased in the lymphocytes of patients who have been treated with CCNU. No data were available to evaluate the teratogenic or mutagenic potential of this drug in humans.

Several case reports describe the development of acute nonlymphocytic leukaemia in cancer patients who received CCNU. With one exception, all such patients had also received other cytotoxic agents and/or irradiation. No epidemiological study of CCNU as a single agent was available to the Working Group.

5.3 Evaluation

There is sufficient evidence for the carcinogenicity of CCNU in rats. The data from studies in humans are inadequate to evaluate the carcinogenicity of CCNU in man.

This chemical should be regarded for practical purposes as if it presented a carcinogenic risk to humans.

For definition of the italicized terms, see Preamble Evaluation.

Subsequent evaluation: Suppl. 7 (1987)

Last updated: 8 April 1998

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