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May 1960

The Effect of Actinomycin D on Childhood Neoplasms

Author Affiliations

Bethesda, Md.
From the General Medicine Branch, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health. Present address of Dr. Shaw : Department of Medicine, University of Washington Medical School, Seattle ; present address of Dr. Moore : Second and Fourth (Harvard) Services, Boston City Hospital, Boston ; present address of Dr. Mueller : National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, Md.

AMA Am J Dis Child. 1960;99(5):628-635. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1960.02070030630009

Actinomycin D is an antibiotic which was isolated from cultures of Streptomyces parvallus by Manaker et al.,1 in 1954. In 1957, Bullock and Johnson2 elucidated the structure of this compound (Fig. 1). Actinomycin D has been shown to inhibit bacterial growth,3-5 to produce cytotoxic changes in tissue cultures of neoplastic cells,6 and to have antineoplastic activity against several animal tumors.7-9 In human trials, regressions of Wilms' tumors, neuroblastomas, embryonal rhabdomyosarcomas, and other childhood sarcomas have been reported.10-12 An occasional antitumor response has been noted in adult patients with malignancies, but the results in this age group have generally been disappointing.11,13,14

Actinomycin D is of interest in cancer chemotherapy for several reasons. On a weight basis, it is the most active antitumor agent now available. The structural formula of this agent is unrelated to any other type of antitumor agent now known, indicating that

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