Mitomycin - Uses - Dosages - Side Effects - Precautions

Mitomycin: Frequently Asked Questions Answered

What is Mitomycin?

Mitomycin is an antineoplastic/antibiotic drug to treat stomach and pancreatic carcinoma. Its history dates back to the 1950s, when a group of Japanese microbiologists isolated it from Streptomyces caespitosus. The drug is also recommended for anal, breast, cervical, urinary bladder, non-small cell lung carcinoma with promising antitumor activity.

Mitomycin is not an alternative to radiation therapies or surgeries. It tends to provide supportive treatment with other antineoplastic drugs.

What are the Uses of Mitomycin?

The medical industry uses Mitomycin as a supportive drug for the treatment of –

  • Stomach and pancreatic cancer
  • Urinary bladder carcinoma
  • Breast cancer
  • Cervical cancer
  • Anal carcinoma
  • Non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC)
  • Colorectal cancer

Mitomycin comes as a powder in three different dosage forms, namely 5mg, 20mg, and 40mg. It is administered into the body intravenously (IV-form). It can only be injected under a qualified physician’s supervision.

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What are the Side Effects of Mitomycin?

  • Bone marrow toxicity: Low platelets and white blood cells might occur within two months of drug therapy.
  • Renal toxicity: Oncologists observed a rise in the creatine level in around 2% of patients.
  • Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS): It is a classical triad of hemolytic anaemia, low platelet count, and renal failure.


Other side effects are –

  • Headache, fever, vertigo, blurred vision, fatigue, and drowsiness
  • Nausea, vomiting, and anorexia
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Bladder inflammation and diarrhoea
  • Pneumonitis, rarely pulmonary fibrosis

The severity of these side effects can vary from individual to individual. Consult the doctors at Yashoda Hospitals for an expert medical opinion or if side effects persist.


Frequently Asked Questions about Mitomycin

1. How does Mitomycin work?

The chemotherapy drug works by interfering with your DNA. Mitomycin uses the ability to inhibit the cells from rapidly dividing. The cancer spreads in our body from one part to another by replicating DNA and dividing rapidly into numerous cancerous cells. A typical cell would stop dividing once it comes into contact with similar cells. Cancer cells lose this property and thus are a hazard to our immune system.

2. How long does Mitomycin stay in your system?

Your healthcare provider will administer Mitomycin into the bladder, its intravesical treatment of Mitomycin. It stays in your bladder for one to two hours and tends to change the colour of your urine. It is common to experience bluish-green discolourations and frequent peeing and pain for one day (typically 24 hours) after treatment.

3. Can Mitomycin cause hepatotoxicity?

Intake of Mitomycin in high doses is linked with the development of sinusoidal obstruction syndrome. It is simply the damage and blockage of small liver vessels. Its severity varies from individual to individual and can range from mild, transient and asymptomatic. Other chemotherapy drugs responsible for this condition are cyclophosphamide and busulfan.

4. Can Mitomycin cause liver toxicity?

Mitomycin is listed among drugs that can lead to liver toxicity or hepatotoxicity. It is a proven cause of transient jaundice and sinusoidal obstruction syndrome, previously known as a hepatic veno-occlusive disease (VOD). The side effect is rare and depends upon the individual's tolerance level.

5. Is Mitomycin a chemotherapy?

Yes, the antineoplastic antibiotic drug Mitomycin is a chemotherapy drug. It is used as a supportive drug with various antitumor medicines to treat cancers like stomach, pancreas, breast, urinary bladder, etc.

6. How does Mitomycin work for bladder cancer?

Your oncologist will use Mitomycin for intravesical chemotherapy (bladder chemotherapy). The drug is administered using electromotive mitomycin therapy. The primary side effect of this therapy is blood in urine and a burning sensation in the bladder. How is Mitomycin administered?

  • Mitomycin is administered intravenously using an injection. It is a vesicant, a substance that can cause adverse tissue reactions if exposed to veins. The nurse must inform the doctor in time for any redness or inflammation at the IV site.
  • For urinary bladder cancer, intravesical chemotherapy is adopted, as explained above.
  • Doses of Mitomycin are not available in pill form.

7. Does Mitomycin cause weight gain?

Yes, Mitomycin is associated with rapid weight gain as one of its alarming side effects. Inform your doctor right away if you experience weight gain along with any unusual bleeding, bruisings, bloody diarrhoea, or stomach cramps.

8. Does Mitomycin cause hair loss?

Yes, the use of Mitomycin comes with temporary loss of hair, just like any chemotherapy. It includes your eyelash, eyebrow, pubic, axillary, and underarm hair too. Once the treatment is complete, your hair growth must return to normal. It might take time, and your body may still experience signs and symptoms that need attention.

9. Does Mitomycin affect your immune system?

Yes, you are susceptible to contracting infections during the treatment period. It can weaken your immune system. Your doctors might use the word 'immunocompromised' for cancer patients. Thus they should be made aware of all sensible precautions to take while on chemotherapy. Call your doctor right away if you feel feverish, weak, sore, or have frequent coughing.

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Disclaimer: The information provided herein is accurate, updated and complete as per the best practices of the Company. Please note that this information should not be treated as a replacement for physical medical consultation or advice. We do not guarantee the accuracy and the completeness of the information so provided. The absence of any information and/or warning to any drug shall not be considered and assumed as an implied assurance of the Company. We do not take any responsibility for the consequences arising out of the aforementioned information and strongly recommend you for a physical consultation in case of any queries or doubts.


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