Bleomycin, BLM, is the generic name for a group of alkaline polypeptides isolated by Umezawa (1965). BLM is a unique cytostatic, concentrating in squamous cell epithelium and its derivatives; it has no bone marrow toxicity and no immunosuppressive effect. Ichikawa’s report of curative effect of BLM as the sole modality of treatment has been verified for squamous cell cancers of the head and neck by Rygard and Hansen (1975), who diminished the incidence of lung toxicity without loss of tumor effect by changing from iv to im injections in reduced intensity and total dose. The changes observed clinically in BLM sensitive tumors were similar to those seen during intensive radiotherapy: rather quick resolution of tumor often accompanied by mucositis. There is experimental evidence that BLM acts in much the same way as irradiation. The age of the cell in the reproductive cycle sensitive to BLM has been shown to be M and early S phase (Barranco 1971), whereas cells in G1 are resistant (Barranco 1973). Furthermore, Wharam (1973) showed that the addition of BLM takes the shoulder off the survival curves after irradiation, thus indicating that BLM prevents repair of sublethal irradiation damage. At the Radium Centre, BLM has been used as adjuvants to radiotherapy in 2 groups of previously untreated patients with squamous cell cancer originating in the head and neck regions.
KeywordsReproductive Cycle Squamous Cell Cancer Sole Modality Bone Marrow Toxicity Tumor Effect
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