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June 20, 1977

Medical News

JAMA. 1977;237(25):2697-2705. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03270520007001

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Alkylating agent linked to occurrence of leukemias as second cancers  Alkylating agents appear to have a serious side effect— acute leukemia as a second cancer—in a few women with ovarian or breast cancer who have been treated with these drugs, sometimes with seeming success.There is also concern that the number of these cases may increase as more of the women treated with alkylating agents live for longer periods after treatment.Two disturbing reports on this subject were presented at the recent Denver meetings of the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the American Association for Cancer Research. The investigators call for a new, hard look at the use of these agents, particularly in the adjuvant chemotherapy of breast cancer, but also in the treatment of ovarian and other cancers and some noncancerous diseases, such as nephritis, arthritis, and Wegener's granulomatosis.This is not the first time that such