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Dactinomycin, Actinomycin D

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Summary

Dactinomycin and actinomycin D are two interchangeable names for the same intercalating agent. By intercalating into DNA, this drug prevents RNA polymerases from properly accessing the strands of DNA, thereby preventing RNA synthesis and subsequent protein synthesis, particularly in rapidly dividing cells. Dactinomycin is used for the treatment of childhood tumors, but patients taking this drug may also experience myelosuppression. 

Key Points

  • Dactinomycin also known as Actinomycin D
    • Mechanism
      • Intercalates into DNA
        • Molecules insert between two strands of DNA → prevents RNA synthesis
    • Clinical Use
      • Used for childhood tumors
        • Wilms tumor
        • Ewing sarcoma
        • rhabdomyosarcoma
    • Adverse Effects
      • Myelosuppression (obvious)