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Home / Drugs / Starting with B / Bleomycin

A complex of related glycopeptide antibiotics from Streptomyces verticillus consisting of bleomycin A2 and B2 (B2 CAS # 9060-10-0). It inhibits DNA metabolism and is used as an antineoplastic, especially for solid tumors. Bleomycin A2 is used as the representative structure for Bleomycin.
Antibiotics, Antineoplastic
ManufacturersBristol myers squibb co pharmaceutical research institute
App pharmaceuticals llc
Bedford laboratories div ben venue laboratories inc
Hospira inc
Pharmachemie bv
Teva parenteral medicines inc
PackagersAPP Pharmaceuticals
Bedford Labs
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.
Hospira Inc.
Mead Johnson and Co.
Nippon Kayaku Co. Ltd.
Sicor Pharmaceuticals
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.
Bleomicina [INN-Spanish]
Bleomycin A2
Bleomycin sulfate
Bleomycine [INN-French]
Bleomycinum [INN-Latin]


For palliative treatment in the management malignant neoplasm (trachea, bronchus, lung), squamous cell carcinoma, and lymphomas.


Bleomycin is an antibiotic which has been shown to have antitumor activity. Bleomycin selectively inhibits the synthesis of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). The guanine and cytosine content correlates with the degree of mitomycin-induced cross-linking. At high concentrations of the drug, cellular RNA and protein synthesis are also suppressed. Bleomycin has been shown in vitro to inhibit B cell, T cell, and macrophage proliferation and impair antigen presentation, as well as the secretion of interferon gamma, TNFa, and IL-2. The antibiotic antitumor drugs are cell cycle-nonspecific except for Bleomycin (which has major effects in G2 and M phases).

mechanism of action

Although the exact mechanism of action of bleomycin is unknown, available evidence would seem to indicate that the main mode of action is the inhibition of DNA synthesis with some evidence of lesser inhibition of RNA and protein synthesis. DNA cleavage by bleomycin depends on oxygen and metal ions, at least in vitro. It is believed that bleomycin chelates metal ions (primarily iron) producing a pseudoenzyme that reacts with oxygen to produce superoxide and hydroxide free radicals that cleave DNA.


Excessive exposure may cause fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, mental, confusion, and wheezing. Bleomycin may cause irritation to eyes, skin and respiratory tract. It may also cause a darkening or thickening of the skin. It may cause an allergic reaction.




Systemic absorption is approximately 45%.

half life

115 minutes

route of elimination

It was reported that patients with moderately severe renal failure excreted less than 20% of the dose in the urine.

drug interactions

Digoxin: The antineoplasic agent decreases the effect of digoxin

Fosphenytoin: The antineoplasic agent decreases the effect of hydantoin

Leflunomide: Immunosuppressants like bleomycin may enhance the adverse/toxic effect of Leflunomide. Specifically, the risk for hematologic toxicity such as pancytopenia, agranulocytosis, and/or thrombocytopenia may be increased. Consider eliminating the use of a leflunomide loading dose in patients who are receiving other immunosuppressants in order to reduce the risk for serious adverse events such as hematologic toxicity.

Natalizumab: Immunosuppressants like bleomycin may enhance the adverse/toxic effect of Natalizumab. Specifically, the risk of concurrent infection may be increased. Patients receiving natalizumab should not use concurrent immunosuppressants.

Phenytoin: The antineoplasic agent decreases the effect of hydantoin

Pimecrolimus: Pimecrolimus may enhance the adverse/toxic effect of immunosuppressants like bleomycin. This combination is contraindicated

Tacrolimus: Tacrolimus (Topical) may enhance the adverse/toxic effect of Immunosuppressants. Avoid use of tacrolimus ointment in patients receiving immunosuppressants.

Trastuzumab: Trastuzumab may increase the risk of neutropenia and anemia. Monitor closely for signs and symptoms of adverse events.