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Dactinomycin is used in the treatment of testicular cancer, wilms' tumor (kidney cancer in young children), gestational trophoblastic neoplasia (abnormal growth of cells inside a woman's uterus) and ewing's sarcoma

How it works

Dactinomycin works by damaging the genetic material (DNA) of the cancer cells and stops their growth and multiplication.

Common side effects

Nausea, Pharyngitis, Pneumonitis, Anorectal inflammation, Liver disorder, Abdominal pain, Acne, Myelosuppression, Anemia, Lip swelling, Diarrhoea, Difficulty in swallowing, Erythema multiforme, Esophagitis, Gastrointestinal ulcer, Hair loss, Decreased calcium level in blood, Infection, Loss of appetite, Muscle pain, Sepsis, Skin eruptions, Ulcerative stomatitis, Vomiting

Available Medicine

Expert advice

  • Use appropriate contraception during treatment with dactinomycin, if you are women of childbearing potential.
  • During administration, avoid inhalation of dust or vapors and contact with eyes or mucous membranes as it is highly toxic and extremely corrosive to soft tissues.
  • Take precautions while taking dactinomycin as you may develop life threatening allergic reactions.
  • You may be monitored daily for any side effects during treatment as it may cause toxic reactions such as stomatitis, diarrhea, severe hematopoietic depression.
  • Tell your doctor if you are or planning to become pregnant or are breastfeeding.

Frequently asked questions


Q. Is dactinomycin an anthracycline?
Yes, dactinomycin is an anthracycline

Q. Is dactinomycin a vesicant (agent that causes tissue blistering and damage)?
Yes, dactinomycin is a vesicant; it may cause tissue blistering if it leaks out of the vein.

Content on this page was last updated on 13 January, 2017, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)