also known as chlormethine
, nitrogen mustard
and sold under the brand name Mustargen
, is the prototype anticancer
chemotherapeutic drug. Successful clinical use of mechlorethamine gave birth to the field of anticancer chemotherapy. The drug is an analogue of mustard gas
and was derived from chemical warfare
research, in particular a 1943 accident in Bari
which exposed civilians and soldiers-- it was noted that white cell counts of exposed patients decreased, suggesting a possible therapy for the cancer Hodgkin's lymphoma
. It belongs to the group of nitrogen mustard alkylating agents
It has been derivatized into the estrogen analogue estramustine, used to treat prostate cancer.
It can also be used in chemical warfare where it has the code-name HN2. This chemical is a form of nitrogen mustard gas and therefore a powerful vesicant.