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Systematic (IUPAC) name
Clinical data
Pronunciation /dəˈkɑːrbəˌzn/
Trade names DTIC-Dome
AHFS/Drugs.com Monograph
MedlinePlus a682750
  • US: C (Risk not ruled out)
Routes of
Legal status
Legal status
  • ℞ (Prescription only)
Pharmacokinetic data
Bioavailability 100% (IV)
Metabolism Extensive
Biological half-life 5 hours
Excretion Renal (40% as unchanged dacarbazine)
CAS Number 4342-03-4 YesY
ATC code L01AX04 (WHO)
PubChem CID 2942
DrugBank DB00851 YesY
ChemSpider 10481959 YesY
KEGG C06936 YesY
Chemical data
Formula C6H10N6O
Molar mass 182.18 g/mol
 NYesY (what is this?)  (verify)

Dacarbazine (brand names DTIC, DTIC-Dome; also known as DIC or imidazole carboxamide) is an antineoplastic chemotherapy drug used in the treatment of various cancers, among them malignant melanoma, Hodgkin's lymphoma, sarcoma, and islet cell carcinoma of the pancreas.

Dacarbazine is a member of the class of alkylating agents, which destroy cancer cells by adding an alkyl group (CnH2n+1) to its DNA.

Dacarbazine is normally administered by intravenous infusion (IV) under the immediate supervision of a doctor or nurse. Dacarbazine is bioactivated in liver by demethylation to "MTIC" and then to diazomethane, which is an alkylating agent.

It is on the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines, the most important medications needed in a basic health system.[1]

Medical uses[edit]

As of mid-2006, dacarbazine is commonly used as a single agent in the treatment of metastatic melanoma, and as part of the ABVD chemotherapy regimen to treat Hodgkin's lymphoma, and in the MAID regimen for sarcoma. Dacarbazine was proven to be just as efficacious as procarbazine in the German trial for paediatric Hodgkin's lymphoma, without the teratogenic effects. Thus COPDAC has replaced the former COPP regime in children for TG2 & 3 following OEPA.

Side effects[edit]

Like many chemotherapy drugs, dacarbazine may have numerous serious side effects, because it interferes with normal cell growth as well as cancer cell growth. Among the most serious possible side effects are birth defects to children conceived or carried during treatment; sterility, possibly permanent; or immune suppression (reduced ability to fight infection or disease). Dacarbazine is considered to be highly emetogenic, and most patients will be pre-medicated with dexamethasone and antiemetic drugs like 5-HT3 antagonist (e.g., ondansetron) and/or NK1 receptor antagonist (e.g., aprepitant). Other significant side effects include headache, fatigue and occasionally diarrhea.

The Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare has sent out a black box warning and suggests avoiding dacarbazine due to liver problems.[2]

Mechanism of action[edit]

Dacarbazine works by methylating guanine at the O-6 and N-7 positions. Guanine is one of the four nucleotides that makes up DNA. The alkylated DNA strands stick together such that cell division becomes impossible. This affects cancer cells more than healthy cells because cancer cells divide faster. Unfortunately however, some of the healthy cells will still be damaged.


Shealy et al., J. Org. Chem. 27, 2150 (1962); Hano et al., Gann 59, 207 (1968), C.A. 69, 42527g (1968).


Dacarbazine was developed by Y. Fulmer Shealy, Phd at Southern Research Institute in Birmingham, Alabama. Research was funded by a U.S. federal grant. Dacarbazine gained FDA approval in May 1975 as DTIC-Dome. The drug was initially marketed by Bayer.

Experimental use[edit]

The combination dacarbazine + oblimersen is in clinical trials for advanced melanoma.[3]


Bayer continues to supply DTIC-Dome. There are also generic versions of dacarbazine available from APP, Bedford, Mayne Pharma (now Hospira) and Teva.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "19th WHO Model List of Essential Medicines (April 2015)" (PDF). WHO. April 2015. Retrieved May 10, 2015. 
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on October 1, 2011. Retrieved August 19, 2011. 
  3. ^ Bedikian, AY; Garbe, C; Conry, R; Lebbe, C; Grob, JJ (June 2014). "Dacarbazine with or without Oblimersen (a Bcl-2 Antisense Oligonucleotide) in Chemotherapy-Naïve Patients with Advanced Melanoma and Low-Normal Serum Lactate Dehydrogenase: the AGENDA Trial". Melanoma Research 24 (3): 237–43. PMID 24667300. 


  • MedLine, U.S. National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine,[1]
  • Cancerweb,[2]
  • OncoLink,[3]
  • Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare,[4]