Drugs that interact with and injure DNA in such a way as to prevent cells growth. Drugs of this type include mechlorethamine, chlorambucil, cyclophosphamide, melphalan, carmustine, and others. They are used principally to treat cancers of lymphocytes such as chronic lymphocytic leukemia, lymphomas, and myeloma. Nitrogen mustard was the first alkylating agent and first chemotherapeutic drug applied to cancer therapy at the end of World War II. It has now been largely supplanted by other alkylating agents.
Frequently used in the treatment of tumours Cytostatic agents. Melphalan and cyclo-phosphamide are particularly well-known in the treatment of myeloma. "Alkylating" refers to the manner in which the chemotherapeutic agents cross-link the DNA of malignant cells and thus block their division and reproduction.