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Skeletal formula of carmustine
Ball-and-stick model of carmustine molecule
IUPAC name
Other names
N,N’-Bis(2-chloroethyl)-N-nitroso-urea[citation needed]
ATC code L01AD01
154-93-8 YesY
ChemSpider 2480 YesY
DrugBank DB00262 YesY
EC number 205-838-2
Jmol-3D images Image
KEGG D00254 N
MeSH Carmustine
PubChem 2578
RTECS number YS2625000
UNII U68WG3173Y YesY
UN number 2811
Molar mass 214.05 g·mol−1
Appearance Orange crystals
Odor Odourless
Melting point 30 °C (86 °F; 303 K)
log P 1.375
Acidity (pKa) 10.194
Basicity (pKb) 3.803
Bioavailability 5–28%
  • Intravenous
  • Intralesional
Metabolism Hepatic
15–30 min
Protein binding 80%
  • Renal
  • Respiratory
Legal status Prescription only ()
GHS pictograms The skull-and-crossbones pictogram in the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) The health hazard pictogram in the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS)
GHS signal word DANGER
H300, H350, H360
P301+310, P308+313
EU classification Very Toxic T+
R-phrases R45, R46, R60, R61, R28
S-phrases S22, S36/37/39, S45
20 mg kg−1 (oral, rat)
Related compounds
Related ureas
Related compounds
Except where noted otherwise, data is given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C (77 °F), 100 kPa)
 N verify (what isYesY/N?)
Infobox references

Carmustine (bis-chloroethylnitrosourea, BCNU, BiCNU) is a mustard gas-related β-chloro-nitrosourea compound used as an alkylating agent in chemotherapy. As a dialkylating agent, BCNU is able to form interstrand crosslinks in DNA, which prevents DNA replication and DNA transcription.

It has the appearance of an orange-yellow solid.

Carmustine for injection was earlier marketed under the name BiCNU by Bristol-Myers Squibb[2] and now by Emcure Pharmaceuticals.[3] In India it is sold under various brand names including Consium .


It is used in the treatment of several types of brain cancer (including glioma, glioblastoma multiforme, medulloblastoma and astrocytoma), multiple myeloma and lymphoma (Hodgkin's and non-Hodgkin). BCNU is sometimes used in conjunction with alkyl guanine transferase (AGT) inhibitors, such as O6-benzylguanine. The AGT-inhibitors increase the efficacy of BCNU by inhibiting the direct reversal pathway of DNA repair, which will prevent formation of the interstrand crosslink between the N1 of guanine and the N3 of cytosine.

It is also used as part of a chemotherapeutic protocol in preparation for hematological stem cell transplantation, a type of bone marrow transplant, in order to reduce the white blood cell count in the recipient (patient). Use under this protocol, usually with Fludarabine and Melphalan, was coined by oncologists at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.


In the treatment of brain tumours, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved biodegradable discs infused with carmustine (Gliadel).[4] They are implanted under the skull during a surgery called a craniotomy.[5] The disc allows for controlled release of carmustine in the extracellular fluid of the brain, thus eliminating the need for the encapsulated drug to cross the blood-brain barrier.[6]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]