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The dream of effective chemotherapy for malignant tumors has come a step closer to realization with the introduction of uracil nitrogen mustard.
Mechlorethamine hydrochloride (Nitrogen Mustard) was introduced during World War II for the treatment of leukemia. The action of this drug is by the attachment of an alkyl group (hence the term "alkylating agent") to proteins, nucleic acids, or other cell constituents, causing cell damage either directly to the nucleic acids of the cell or indirectly through enzyme inhibition of actively multiplying cells. Many chemotherapeutic analogues of methlorethamine hydrochloride have been developed to try to decrease the toxicity of the drug and to enhance its antitumor activity.
An important variation in mustard compounds has been the development of an oral preparation, uracil nitrogen mustard (U-8344). Since tumors require a large amount of uracil to form nucleoprotein it is believed that this drug is avidly taken up by rapidly proliferating
SHAMBAUGH GE. Chemotheroapy of Cancer. Arch Otolaryngol. 1961;73(4):377. doi:10.1001/archotol.1961.00740020387001
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