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Plicamycin is also known as mithramycin and Mithracin. The medicine kills cancer cells. It may be used to treat cancer of the testicles. In addition, it may be used as treatment for hypercalcemia. Hypercalcemia is a condition characterized by high levels of calcium in the blood.
Plicamycin is a drug used to treat testicular cancer in patients who are not good candidates for either surgery or x-ray therapy.
Plicamycin is also used to treat hypercalcemia. Many patients with hypercalcemia also have elevated levels of calcium in the urine. As treatment for this condition, plicamycin may not be a doctor's first choice. The reason for this is that plicamycin may cause serious side effects.
Plicamycin interacts chemically with the DNA in cells and so interferes with the production of RNA. It lowers levels of calcium in the blood by affecting the formation of new bone cells and interfering with the activities of certain hormones.
For testicular cancer, some doctors give 25 micrograms per kilograms of body weight every two to four days to start. However, if the patient has kidney or liver problems, these doctors may give 12.5 micrograms per kilogram instead. Others administer 25 to 30 micrograms per kilograms of body weight every eight to ten days. Others may give as much as 50 micrograms per kilogram of body weight per dose for approximately eight doses every other day.
For high levels of calcium in the blood and urine, fifteen to twenty-five micrograms per kilogram of body weight may be given every day for three or four days. Following this, additional medication may be required approximately once a week.
Author Info: Bob Kirsch, The Gale Group Inc., Gale, Detroit, Gale Encyclopedia of Cancer, 2002
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