Mitomycin (Intravenous)

Mitomycin is a member of the antineoplastic antibiotic family of medications and is used in the treatment of certain types of cancers, to target the abnormal cells and cut them off from the vital supplies they need to grow and survive.

Overview

In combination with other drug therapies, the anitneoplastic antibiotic Mitomycin, also known as Mutamycin and Mitomycin-C as well as MTC in the marketplace, is typically the treatment of choice for patients with pancreatic or stomach cancer. Mitomycin is a natural derivative from two strains of bacteria and is considered to be an effective chemotherapy drug. The off label use has been researched and indicates that Mitomycin may also be effective in healing wounds in com/health/coma/">glaucoma surgical patients as well as a potential to treat strictures in the gastrointestinal area.

Cancerous tumors are identified by their hyperactive cellular division activity that is out of control in comparison with health cells. Healthy cells discontinue their dividing and multiplying when they come into contact with cells just like themselves, which is called contact inhibition. A cancerous cell has no ability to stop dividing and multiplying as they have lost the controls that healthy cells have. Their cell cycle is out of control. Mitomycin stops the division of cellular structures by damaging the road map that cells use to reproduce themselves. If the cancer cells are unable to divide and go into the cell cycle, they die off.

All chemotherapy drugs target rapidly dividing cells, as they are most likely to be cancerous; depending on the drug, it may target different stages of the cell cycle. Mitomycin is not specific to any one cell cycle phase, so it is effective during the entire cell cycle.

Conditions Treated

Type Of Medicine

  • Chemotherapy drug
  • Antineoplastic antibiotic

Side Effects

By affecting cellular growth during different phases of the cell cycle and altering the DNA synthesis, Mitomycin is an effective chemotherapy treatment to fight cancer. It may also have an effect on healthy cells, causing unwanted symptoms in some patients. If you have any of the following symptoms, get in touch with your physician right away:

  • Tar-like, black stools
  • Signs of blood in stool or urine
  • Hoarse voice
  • Coughing
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Chills
  • Pain in side or lower back
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Painful urination
  • Tiny red dots on skin
  • Bruising or bleeding that is unexpected or unusual
  • Infected skin at injection site
  • Coughing
  • Decrease in urination frequency or amount
  • Gasping for breath
  • Sores on lips and mouth
  • Swollen legs or feet
  • Vomiting blood

Other annoying health symptoms may occur that typically go away themselves over time and use of the drug. Check with your cancer treatment team for advice on how to alleviate these symptoms:

  • Little to no appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Tingling, numb toes and fingers
  • Nails have purple bands
  • Rash on skin
  • Fatigue
  • Weak muscles

Mitomycin has been known to cause temporary hair loss, which normally goes away after chemotherapy treatment has ended.

You may experience adverse symptoms long after your chemotherapy treatment has ended. Any changes to your health post-treatment should be communicated to your team of cancer care specialists.

Dosage

The dosage of Mitomycin you receive will depend on many criteria including your overall health condition, any other health problems you have, your weight and height and the type of cancer you are being treated for. You will be given this medication during a chemotherapy treatment schedule that is synchronized with the cell cycle to be efficient and effective in treating your cancer symptoms.

Adult patients who are being treated for stomach cancer will be treated in six to eight week intervals with 20 milligrams of Mitomycin per square meter of body surface area to be dissolved into an intravenous solution and given via a catheter over time. This treatment is to follow any other previous chemotherapy treatment after the patient's blood cell count has returned to normal levels.

Adult patients being treated for pancreatic cancer will be given a 20 milligram dose of Mitomycin per square meter of body surface area. Again, the powdered medication is dissolved in a solution that makes it appropriate to administer into a vein through an intravenous catheter.

Bladder cancer patients will typically receive 40 milligrams per square meter of body surface area, but their dosage of Mitomycin is administered directly into the bladder via a catheter, which is called intravesical installation.

These dosage amounts are very general and are adjusted depending on the patient's condition, among other factors.

Interactions

Communicate any sensitivity you have to foods, animals, perfumes, dyes or preservatives to your team of cancer treatment specialists prior to being treated with Mitomycin, as you could also have a reaction to this drug or some of the active ingredients. Review the patient information provided to you by the chemotherapy care staff, asking any questions necessary to make sure you understand how this medication is used to treat your cancer.

Pediatric patients should be able to safely and effectively have Mitomycin as part of their chemotherapy regimen, as there have been no specific alerts with regard to a higher risk of use of this drug in children. Geriatric patients, as well, have not been studied for any elevated risks associated with their age group and use of Mitomycin. This type of chemotherapy is believed to be safe and effective for all ages.

Safety has not been established for the use of Mitomycin in women who are pregnant. Additionally, no data exists to determine if Mitomycin is safe for women who are breastfeeding, as it is unknown if it is transported via breast milk. For safety of the unborn child or infant, it is best to avoid this type of treatment if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Consult your physician if you think you may be pregnant prior to being treated with Mitomycin.

Along with your chemotherapy treatment of Mitomycin, you will most likely be prescribed other drugs to treat unwanted symptoms you'll have during your treatment phases. These drugs, as they are assigned specifically by your physician, are safe and do not diminish the effectiveness of Mitomycin on your cancer.

Other vaccinations and medications, however, can be harmful to you if taken with Mitomycin. It is best to avoid taking anything else than what your cancer treatment team has prescribed to you. In case of vaccinations, alert your cancer care team if you have just gotten the following vaccines:

During your chemotherapy treatment, your immune system is suppressed as your body is not creating as many white blood cells. During this time, it is dangerous for you to have a vaccination against a disease that uses a live form of the virus to create antibodies. If you have just had a vaccination, let your doctor know and avoid getting any while you are still immunosuppressed by treatment with Mitomycin.

The following medications and vaccinations, while not specifically harmful, are typically not recommended treatments to combine with Mitomycin. Let your doctor know if you have recently had any of the following:

  • Bacillus of Calmette and Guerin live vaccination
  • Adenovirus live vaccination
  • Influenza live vaccination
  • Cholera live vaccination
  • Smallpox vaccination
  • Poliovirus live vaccination
  • Typhoid live vaccination
  • Tamoxifen
  • com/health/yellow-fever/">Yellow Fever vaccination
  • Vinblastine

Other health conditions may also have an effect on how Mitomycin works for you and might even become worse themselves when you begin treatment. Alert your cancer treatment team if you have the following:

  • Excessive bleeding or problems with blood and bleeding
  • Chickenpox, including recent contact with other persons who have chickenpox
  • Shingles
  • Infections
  • Kidney disease

Warnings

Before your treatment with Mitomycin begins, provide a list of any medications you are currently taking to your team of cancer care specialists. Be sure to include any non-prescription, holistic, herbal or vitamin therapies you take in addition to any prescriptions. Unless your doctor specifically approves it, avoid taking aspirin during your treatment.

Avoid any vaccinations during your cancer therapy regimen, as your immune system is suppressed and may not be able to create the antibodies to fight off future infections and you may contract the disease itself.

Let your cancer care team know if you are pregnant before beginning your chemotherapy treatment with Mitomycin, as this medication may be harmful to fetal development. While in chemotherapy treatment, both men and women are cautioned not to conceive a child and to use reliable forms of contraception during this time. Discuss future fertility and pregnancy with your physician when your treatment is over to make sure you wait an adequate amount of time to avoid any remaining traces of this drug in your system before getting pregnant or fathering a child.

Do not breastfeed while being treated with Mitomycin, as it may travel through breast milk and cause harm to infants.

Your white blood cell population will be severely decreased while you are in chemotherapy treatment with Mitomycin, putting you at risk for developing serious infections. Your blood platelets will be severely compromised as well, which increases your risk for severe bleeding. Alert your cancer care team if you have elevated body temperature, a sore throat, coughing and chest congestion or other signs of cold or flu symptoms. Any strange bruises or unexpected bleeding should be reported to your physician at once.

Mitomycin treatment has an effect on your health that puts you at a higher risk for a potentially life-threatening red blood cell injury that is called hemolytic uremic syndrome. Symptoms of this condition include swollen arms, feet, hands, ankles, legs or face, fatigue and weakness, bloody diarrhea or stools and a decrease in urine frequency or volume. Alert your cancer care team immediately if you have any symptoms associated with this condition.

It is very important for you to keep taking treatment of Mitomycin, despite any nausea and vomiting symptoms you experience as a result of the drug. If you need anti-nausea medication, let your team of cancer treatment specialists know and they will assist you.

Keep all scheduled appointments for your treatment regimen and testing, which will keep you healthy as well as continue to fight the cancer in your body.

For your own health and safety, during your chemotherapy treatment, follow the following guidelines:

  • Avoid people with obvious signs of infection such as colds or flu symptoms.
  • If you think you're getting a cold or symptoms of the flu, contact your cancer care team right away. These symptoms include coughing or hoarse voice, pain in side or lower back, painful urination, chills and elevated body temperature.
  • Report any unexpected bruising or bleeding including stools that appear tar-like or black in color, urine with signs of blood or tiny red spots on your skin.
  • Use caution when performing oral hygiene, as you could accidentally cause your gums to bleed. Consult your dentist, who can recommend gentle ways of cleaning your teeth during chemotherapy.
  • Avoid touching your nose, mouth or eyes unless your hands are freshly washed.
  • Use caution when shaving or trimming nails or in situations you are using sharp instruments such as cooking.
  • Do not participate in contact sports, as you could become severely injured very easily.

Mitomycin is known as a vesicant containing medication, meaning that it has a chemical that can damage skin tissue and cause blistering if it is allowed to come into contact with skin. The physician or nurse that administers your dosage of Mitomycin is professionally trained to do so safely, but if you notice any skin redness or signs of swelling where you IV is inserted into your vein, alert your physician right away.

Day or night, if you experience signs of elevated body temperature and a check with a reliable thermometer reads over 100.4 degrees, immediately contact your doctor.

Storage

Mitomycin is used in a professional health care setting only and must be administered by trained professionals who are also responsible for the safe storage of the drug. The manufacturer has advised that the dry powder format should be stored at room temperature and protected from light. When dissolved for injection, it should be refrigerated and discarded if not used within 14 days.

Summary

Mitomycin is an antineoplastic antibiotic chemotherapy medication that is administered through an intravenous catheter as part of a treatment regimen designed to attack cancer cells. Depending on the cellular division cycle, cancer treatment will be performed with regularity every few weeks, giving the patient's body time to heal between doses before beginning again. Mitomycin is effective in many types of cancer including stomach and pancreatic cancer as well as breast cancer, liver cancer and others.

By inhibiting the rapidly dividing cancer cells from using a map of instructions to create copies of themselves, Mitomycin stops the cellular division cycle in its tracks, effectively stopping the spread of the cancer and causing the cells to die off. The patient's own healthy cells should recover from the treatment, but in the mean time some unwanted health effects could be experienced.

Most patients experience a loss of hair, which is typically alleviated after treatment has stopped. Patients also report a high instance of nausea and vomiting with treatment of Mitomycin, which can be alleviated by medications prescribed by the cancer care team. Other side effects may occur and should be reported as well, in case they are signs of an underlying health condition.

In general, avoid being exposed to other people who are sick with infections, colds or flu and do not get any vaccinations that contain live virus strains during your cancer treatment. Consult your doctor before you begin taking any other drugs while you are in chemotherapy treatment with Mitomycin. Maintain good physical health, a balanced diet, exercise and rest while you are in treatment. Avoid contact sports or other activities that put you in danger.

Avoid Mitomycin treatment if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, if you have diseases involving the blood or kidneys, or if you have recently been exposed to chickenpox, shingles or the herpes zoster virus.