(dak ti noe MYE sin)
- Actinomycin Cl
- Actinomycin D
Excipient information presented when available (limited, particularly for generics); consult specific product labeling. [DSC] = Discontinued product
Solution Reconstituted, Intravenous:
Cosmegen: 0.5 mg (1 ea)
Solution Reconstituted, Intravenous [preservative free]:
Generic: 0.5 mg (1 ea [DSC])
Brand Names: U.S.
- Antineoplastic Agent, Antibiotic
Binds to the guanine portion of DNA intercalating between guanine and cytosine base pairs inhibiting DNA and RNA synthesis and protein synthesis
Children: Extensive extravascular distribution (59-714 L) (Veal, 2005); does not penetrate blood-brain barrier
~30% in urine and feces within 1 week
~36 hours; Children: Range: 14-43 hours (Veal, 2005)
Use: Labeled Indications
Treatment of Wilms' tumor, childhood rhabdomyosarcoma, Ewing's sarcoma, metastatic testicular tumors (nonseminomatous), gestational trophoblastic neoplasm; regional perfusion (palliative or adjunctive) of locally recurrent or locoregional solid tumors (sarcomas, carcinomas and adenocarcinomas)
Treatment of ovarian cancer (germ cell or stromal tumors), osteosarcoma, soft tissue sarcoma (other than rhabdomyosarcoma)
Hypersensitivity to dactinomycin or any component of the formulation; patients with concurrent or recent chickenpox or herpes zoster
Note: Medication orders for dactinomycin are commonly written in MICROgrams (eg, 150 mcg) although many regimens list the dose in MILLIgrams (eg, mg/kg or mg/m2). The dose intensity per 2-week cycle should not exceed 15 mcg/kg/day for 5 days or 400-600 mcg/m2/day for 5 days. The manufacturer recommends calculation of the dosage for obese or edematous adult patients on the basis of body surface area in an effort to relate dosage to lean body mass. Dactinomycin is associated with a high emetic potential; antiemetics are recommended to prevent nausea and vomiting (Basch, 2011).
Testicular cancer, metastatic: IV: 1000 mcg/m2 on day 1 (in combination with cyclophosphamide, bleomycin, cisplatin, and vinblastine)
Gestational trophoblastic neoplasm: IV: 12 mcg/kg/day for 5 days (as a single agent) or 500 mcg/dose on days 1 and 2 (in combination with etoposide, methotrexate, leucovorin, vincristine, cyclophosphamide, and cisplatin) or (off-label dosing for low-risk disease) 1.25 mg/m2 every 2 weeks as a single agent (Osborne, 2011)
Wilms tumor, Ewing’s sarcoma, rhabdomyosarcoma: IV: 15 mcg/kg/day for 5 days (in various combination regimens and schedules)
Regional perfusion (dosages and techniques may vary by institution; obese patients and patients with prior chemotherapy or radiation therapy may require lower doses): Lower extremity or pelvis: 50 mcg/kg; Upper extremity: 35 mcg/kg
Osteosarcoma (off-label use): IV: 600 mcg/m2 on days 1, 2, and 3 of weeks 15, 31, 34, 39, and 42 (as part of a combination chemotherapy regimen) (Goorin, 2003)
Ovarian (germ cell) tumor (off-label use): IV: 500 mcg daily for 5 days every 4 weeks (in combination with vincristine and cyclophosphamide) (Gershenson, 1985) or 300 mcg/m2/day for 5 days every 4 weeks (in combination with vincristine and cyclophosphamide) (Slayton, 1985)
Refer to adult dosing. Elderly patients are at increased risk of myelosuppression; dosing should begin at the low end of the dosing range.
Note: Medication orders for dactinomycin are commonly written in MICROgrams (eg, 150 mcg) although many regimens list the dose in MILLIgrams (eg, mg/kg or mg/m2). The dose intensity per 2-week cycle should not exceed 15 mcg/kg/day for 5 days or 400-600 mcg/m2/day for 5 days. Dactinomycin is associated with a high emetic potential; antiemetics are recommended to prevent nausea and vomiting (Dupuis, 2011).
Wilms tumor, rhabdomyosarcoma, Ewing’s sarcoma: Children >6 months: IV: 15 mcg/kg/day for 5 days (in various combination regimens and schedules)
Children <1 year: 25 mcg/kg every 3 weeks, weeks 0 to 45 (in combination with vincristine and cyclophosphamide, and mesna); dose omission required following radiation therapy (Raney, 2011)
Children ≥1 year: 45 mcg/kg (maximum dose: 2500 mcg) every 3 weeks, weeks 0 to 45 (in combination with vincristine and cyclophosphamide, and mesna); dose omission required following radiation therapy (Raney, 2011)
Wilms tumor: IV:
DD-4A regimen: 45 mcg/kg on day 1 every 6 weeks for 54 weeks (in combination with doxorubicin and vincristine) (Green, 1998)
EE-4A regimen: 45 mcg/kg on day 1 every 3 weeks for 18 weeks (in combination with vincristine) (Green, 1998)
Children <1 year: 750 mcg/m2 every 6 weeks for 1 year (stage III disease) (in combination with vincristine and doxorubicin) (Pritchard, 1995)
Children ≥1 year: 1500 mcg/m2 every 6 weeks for 1 year (stage III disease) (in combination with vincristine and doxorubicin) (Pritchard, 1995)
Osteosarcoma (off-label use): IV: 600 mcg/m2 on days 1, 2, and 3 of weeks 15, 31, 34, 39, and 42 (as part of a combination chemotherapy regimen) (Goorin, 2003)
Dosing: Renal Impairment
There are no dosage adjustments provided in the manufacturer's labeling; however, based on the amount of urinary excretion, dosage adjustments may not be necessary.
Dosing: Hepatic Impairment
U.S. labeling: There are no dosage adjustments provided in manufacturer's labeling.
Mild impairment: There are no dosage adjustments provided.
Moderate-severe impairment: Dose reduction may be considered; 33% to 50% dose reductions for patients with hyperbilirubinemia have been recommended by some clinicians.
Off-label dosing: Any transaminase increase: Reduce dose by 50%; may increase by monitoring toxicities (Floyd, 2006).
ASCO Guidelines for appropriate chemotherapy dosing in obese adults with cancer: Utilize patient’s actual body weight (full weight) for calculation of body surface area- or weight-based dosing, particularly when the intent of therapy is curative; manage regimen-related toxicities in the same manner as for nonobese patients; if a dose reduction is utilized due to toxicity, consider resumption of full weight-based dosing with subsequent cycles, especially if cause of toxicity (eg, hepatic or renal impairment) is resolved (Griggs, 2012).
Hazardous agent; use appropriate precautions for handling and disposal (NIOSH 2014 [group 1]). Reconstitute initially with 1.1 mL of preservative-free SWFI to yield a concentration of 500 mcg/mL (diluent containing preservatives will cause precipitation). May further dilute in D5W or NS in glass or polyvinyl chloride (PVC) containers to a recommended concentration of ≥10 mcg/mL; final concentrations <10 mcg/mL are not recommended. Cellulose ester membrane filters may partially remove dactinomycin from solution and should not be used during preparation or administration.
Dactinomycin is associated with a high emetic potential; antiemetics are recommended to prevent nausea and vomiting (Basch, 2011; Dupuis, 2011).
IV: Administer by slow IV push or infuse over 10-15 minutes. Do not filter with cellulose ester membrane filters. Do not administer IM or SubQ.
Vesicant; ensure proper needle or catheter placement prior to and during infusion; avoid extravasation.
Extravasation management: If extravasation occurs, stop infusion immediately and disconnect (leave cannula/needle in place); gently aspirate extravasated solution (do NOT flush the line); remove needle/cannula; elevate extremity. Apply dry cold compresses for 20 minutes 4 times a day for 1-2 days (Perez Fildago, 2012).
Hazardous agent; use appropriate precautions for handling and disposal (NIOSH 2014 [group 1]).
Stable in D5W, NS.
Y-site administration: Incompatible with filgrastim.
Store at controlled room temperature of 20°C to 25°C (68°F to 77°F). Protect from light and humidity. According to the manufacturer’s labeling, recommended final concentrations (≥10 mcg/mL) are stable for 10 hours at room temperature but should be administered within 4 hours due to the lack of preservative.
BCG (Intravesical): Immunosuppressants may diminish the therapeutic effect of BCG (Intravesical). Avoid combination
BCG (Intravesical): Myelosuppressive Agents may diminish the therapeutic effect of BCG (Intravesical). Avoid combination
CloZAPine: Myelosuppressive Agents may enhance the adverse/toxic effect of CloZAPine. Specifically, the risk for neutropenia may be increased. Monitor therapy
Coccidioides immitis Skin Test: Immunosuppressants may diminish the diagnostic effect of Coccidioides immitis Skin Test. Monitor therapy
Deferiprone: Myelosuppressive Agents may enhance the neutropenic effect of Deferiprone. Avoid combination
Denosumab: May enhance the adverse/toxic effect of Immunosuppressants. Specifically, the risk for serious infections may be increased. Monitor therapy
Dipyrone: May enhance the adverse/toxic effect of Myelosuppressive Agents. Specifically, the risk for agranulocytosis and pancytopenia may be increased Avoid combination
Echinacea: May diminish the therapeutic effect of Immunosuppressants. Consider therapy modification
Fingolimod: Immunosuppressants may enhance the immunosuppressive effect of Fingolimod. Management: Avoid the concomitant use of fingolimod and other immunosuppressants when possible. If combined, monitor patients closely for additive immunosuppressant effects (eg, infections). Consider therapy modification
Leflunomide: Immunosuppressants may enhance the adverse/toxic effect of Leflunomide. Specifically, the risk for hematologic toxicity such as pancytopenia, agranulocytosis, and/or thrombocytopenia may be increased. Management: Consider not using a leflunomide loading dose in patients receiving other immunosuppressants. Patients receiving both leflunomide and another immunosuppressant should be monitored for bone marrow suppression at least monthly. Consider therapy modification
Natalizumab: Immunosuppressants may enhance the adverse/toxic effect of Natalizumab. Specifically, the risk of concurrent infection may be increased. Avoid combination
Nivolumab: Immunosuppressants may diminish the therapeutic effect of Nivolumab. Consider therapy modification
Pimecrolimus: May enhance the adverse/toxic effect of Immunosuppressants. Avoid combination
Roflumilast: May enhance the immunosuppressive effect of Immunosuppressants. Consider therapy modification
Sipuleucel-T: Immunosuppressants may diminish the therapeutic effect of Sipuleucel-T. Monitor therapy
Tacrolimus (Topical): May enhance the adverse/toxic effect of Immunosuppressants. Avoid combination
Tofacitinib: Immunosuppressants may enhance the immunosuppressive effect of Tofacitinib. Management: Concurrent use with antirheumatic doses of methotrexate or nonbiologic disease modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) is permitted, and this warning seems particularly focused on more potent immunosuppressants. Avoid combination
Trastuzumab: May enhance the neutropenic effect of Immunosuppressants. Monitor therapy
Vaccines (Inactivated): Immunosuppressants may diminish the therapeutic effect of Vaccines (Inactivated). Management: Vaccine efficacy may be reduced. Complete all age-appropriate vaccinations at least 2 weeks prior to starting an immunosuppressant. If vaccinated during immunosuppressant therapy, revaccinate at least 3 months after immunosuppressant discontinuation. Consider therapy modification
Vaccines (Live): Immunosuppressants may enhance the adverse/toxic effect of Vaccines (Live). Immunosuppressants may diminish the therapeutic effect of Vaccines (Live). Management: Avoid use of live organism vaccines with immunosuppressants; live-attenuated vaccines should not be given for at least 3 months after immunosuppressants. Avoid combination
May interfere with bioassays of antibacterial drug levels
Frequency not defined.
Cardiovascular: Hepatic veno-occlusive disease (hepatic sinusoidal obstruction syndrome)
Central nervous system: Fatigue, lethargy, malaise
Dermatologic: Acne vulgaris, alopecia (reversible), cheilitis, dermal ulcer (following extravasation), epidermolysis, erythema (of previously irradiated skin), erythema multiforme, exfoliation of skin, localized erythema, skin pigmentation (of previously irradiated skin), skin rash, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, toxic epidermal necrolysis
Endocrine & metabolic: Growth suppression, hyperuricemia, hypocalcemia
Gastrointestinal: Abdominal pain, anorexia, diarrhea, dysphagia, esophagitis, gastrointestinal ulcer, mucositis, nausea, proctitis, stomatitis, vomiting
Hematologic & oncologic: Agranulocytosis, anemia, aplastic anemia, bone marrow depression (onset: 7 days; nadir: 14 to 21 days; recovery: 21 to 28 days), febrile neutropenia, leukopenia, neutropenia, pancytopenia, reticulocytopenia, thrombocytopenia, thrombocytopenia (immune-mediated)
Hepatic: Abnormal hepatic function tests, ascites, hepatic failure, hepatitis, hepatomegaly, hepatopathy thrombocytopenia syndrome, hepatotoxicity, increased serum bilirubin
Hypersensitivity: Anaphylactoid reaction
Infection: Infection, sepsis (including neutropenic sepsis)
Local: Localized edema, local pain
Neuromuscular & skeletal: Myalgia
Renal: Renal function abnormality
Respiratory: Pharyngitis, pneumonitis
Miscellaneous: Fever, tissue necrosis
Concerns related to adverse effects:
• Extravasation: Vesicant; ensure proper needle or catheter placement prior to and during infusion. Avoid extravasation. [U.S. Boxed Warning]: Extremely corrosive to soft tissues; if extravasation occurs during IV use, severe damage to soft tissues will occur; has led to contracture of the arms (rare). Recommended for IV administration only.
• Gastrointestinal toxicity: Dactinomycin is associated with a high emetic potential; antiemetics are recommended to prevent nausea and vomiting (Basch, 2011; Dupuis, 2011).
• Hepatotoxicity: May cause hepatic sinusoidal obstruction syndrome (SOS; formerly called veno-occlusive liver disease [VOD]), increased risk in children <4 years of age; use with caution in hepatobiliary dysfunction. Monitor for signs or symptoms of hepatic SOS, including bilirubin >1.4 mg/dL, unexplained weight gain, ascites, hepatomegaly, or unexplained right upper quadrant pain (Arndt, 2004).
• Secondary malignancies: Long-term observation of cancer survivors is recommended due to the increased risk of second primary tumors following treatment with radiation and antineoplastic agents.
• Toxic effects: May be delayed in onset (2-4 days following a course of treatment) and may require 1-2 weeks to reach maximum severity. Discontinue treatment with severe myelosuppression, diarrhea, or stomatitis.
Concurrent drug therapy issues:
• Drug-drug interactions: Potentially significant interactions may exist, requiring dose or frequency adjustment, additional monitoring, and/or selection of alternative therapy. Consult drug interactions database for more detailed information.
• Elderly: Use with caution; may be associated with an increased risk of myelosuppression.
• Pediatric: Avoid use in infants <6 months of age (toxic effects may occur more frequently). The risk of fatal hepatic SOS is increased in children <4 years of age.
• Pregnancy: [U.S. Boxed Warning]: Avoid exposure during pregnancy.
• Radiation therapy recipients: Potentiates the effects of radiation therapy; use with caution in patients who have received radiation therapy; reduce dosages in patients who are receiving dactinomycin and radiation therapy simultaneously; combination with radiation therapy may result in increased toxicity (eg, GI toxicity, myelosuppression, severe oropharyngeal mucositis). Erythema from prior radiation therapy may be reactivated by dactinomycin. Avoid dactinomycin use within 2 months of radiation treatment for right-sided Wilms' tumor, may increase the risk of hepatotoxicity.
• Hazardous agent: Use appropriate precautions for handling and disposal (NIOSH 2014 [group 1]). [U.S. Boxed Warning]: Avoid inhalation of vapors or contact with skin, mucous membrane, or eyes; use caution for handling and administration. If accidental exposure occurs, immediately irrigate copiously for at least 15 minutes with water, saline, or balanced ophthalmic irrigation solution (eye exposure) and at least 15 minutes with water (skin exposure); prompt ophthalmic or medical consultation is also recommended. Contaminated clothing should be destroyed and shoes thoroughly cleaned prior to reuse.
• Dosage expression: Dosage is usually expressed in MICROgrams and should be calculated on the basis of body surface area (BSA) in obese or edematous adult patients (to relate dose to lean body mass).
• Experienced physician: [U.S. Boxed Warning]: Should be administered under the supervision of an experienced cancer chemotherapy physician.
• Regional perfusion therapy: May result in local limb edema, soft tissue damage, and possible venous thrombosis. Dactinomycin leakage into systemic circulation may result in hematologic toxicity, infection, impaired wound healing, and mucositis.
• Vaccines: Avoid administration of live vaccines during dactinomycin treatment.
CBC with differential and platelet count, liver function tests, and renal function tests; monitor for signs/symptoms of hepatic SOS, including unexplained weight gain, ascites, hepatomegaly, or unexplained right upper quadrant pain (Arndt, 2004)
Pregnancy Risk Factor
[U.S. Boxed Warning]: Avoid exposure during pregnancy. Adverse effects have been observed in animal reproduction studies. Women of childbearing potential are advised not to become pregnant. When used for gestational trophoblastic neoplasm, unfavorable outcomes have been reported when subsequent pregnancies occur within 6 months of treatment. It is recommended to use effective contraception for 6 months to 1 year after therapy (Matsui 2004; Seckl 2013)
• Discuss specific use of drug and side effects with patient as it relates to treatment. (HCAHPS: During this hospital stay, were you given any medicine that you had not taken before? Before giving you any new medicine, how often did hospital staff tell you what the medicine was for? How often did hospital staff describe possible side effects in a way you could understand?)
• Patient may experience lack of appetite, alopecia, dry lips, or acne. Have patient report immediately to prescriber severe pain or skin irritation at the injection site, signs of infection, signs of liver problems (dark urine, feeling tired, lack of appetite, nausea, abdominal pain, light-colored stools, vomiting, or yellow skin or eyes), severe abdominal pain, severe nausea, vomiting, excessive weight loss, bruising, bleeding, loss of strength and energy, severe diarrhea, mouth sores, dysphagia, or signs of Stevens-Johnson syndrome/toxic epidermal necrolysis (red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin [with or without fever]; red or irritated eyes; or sores in mouth, throat, nose, or eyes) (HCAHPS).
• Educate patient about signs of a significant reaction (eg, wheezing; chest tightness; fever; itching; bad cough; blue skin color; seizures; or swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat). Note: This is not a comprehensive list of all side effects. Patient should consult prescriber for additional questions.
Intended Use and Disclaimer: Should not be printed and given to patients. This information is intended to serve as a concise initial reference for healthcare professionals to use when discussing medications with a patient. You must ultimately rely on your own discretion, experience and judgment in diagnosing, treating and advising patients.
More about dactinomycin
- Other brands: Cosmegen