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What Is Lomustine Used For?

Brain tumors and Hodgkin's disease are two types of cancer that lomustine is approved to treat. However, it may be used for off-label reasons as well, such as the treatment of kidney cancer, melanoma, and various other types of cancer. Although it is approved for use in children, potentially serious lung complications might occur when children receive this chemotherapy drug.

An Overview of Uses for Lomustine

Lomustine (CeeNU®) is a prescription chemotherapy medicine. It may be used alone or in combination with other chemotherapy drugs. This medication is approved to treat the following conditions:
 
  • Brain tumors in people who have already been treated with appropriate surgery and radiation therapy
  • Hodgkin's disease in people who did not improve or who have become worse after first-line treatment.
 
Lomustine belongs to a group of medicines known as alkylating agents. There are several different subgroups of alkylating agents. Lomustine is considered a nitrosourea. Nitrosoureas are unique in that they can cross the blood-brain barrier, the protective barrier that separates the brain from potentially harmful substances in the blood. Because they cross the blood-brain barrier, nitrosoureas can be used to treat brain tumors.
 

Lomustine Use for the Treatment of Brain Tumors

Brain tumors occur when abnormal cells grow in the brain. A tumor can begin in the brain (a primary brain tumor) or result from cancer that started in another area of the body and spread to the brain (a secondary brain tumor). Secondary brain tumors are also called metastatic brain tumors.
 
Treatment for brain tumors normally involves surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy (see Brain Cancer Treatment). Surgery is used to remove as much of the tumor as possible without harming healthy brain tissue. Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy are often used after surgery.
 
Lomustine is approved to treat both primary and metastatic brain tumors. It is approved for use in people who have already received surgery and radiation therapy.
 
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Lomustine Drug Information

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