Procarbazine is a cancer therapy that works as an alkylating agent, forming cross-links between different strands of DNA that inhibit DNA synthesis and cell proliferation. Procarbazine is classically used as a chemotherapy to treat Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Lastly, procarbazine is known to cause a disulfiram-like reaction to alcohol. That is, when combined with alcohol, procarbazine produces rapid-onset hangover-like effects.

Key Points

  • Procarbazine
    • Mechanism
      • Alkylating agent
        • Full mechanism unknown; thought to create linkages in DNA strands that prevent replication and transcription
        • Kills cells at all stages of the cell cycle (cell-cycle non-specific)
    • Clinical Use
      • Hodgkin’s lymphoma
        • Part of BEACOPP and MOPP combination regimens
      • Also used to treat CNS tumors
        • Primary CNS lymphoma
        • Glioblastoma multiforme
        • Anaplastic oligodendroglioma/oligoastrocytoma
        • Low-grade gliomas
    • Adverse Effects
      • Disulfiram-like reaction
        • Flushing, nausea, vomiting, headache with alcohol consumption
      • Bone marrow suppression
        • Seen in nearly all chemotherapies
      • Pulmonary toxicity (pneumonitis)
      • Increased risk of leukemia