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Brand names:


Other names:

Dimethyl Triazeno Imidazol Carboxamide, Imidazole Carboxamide, DIC, DTIC

Often used for:

Treatment of malignant melanoma, Hodgkin lymphoma, soft tissue sarcomas, islet cell carcinoma, pheochromocytoma, medullary carcinoma of the thyroid

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What is dacarbazine?

Dacarbazine is a type of chemotherapy. It is used to treat Hodgkin lymphoma and melanoma that has spread to other parts of the body. It also can be used to treat other forms of cancer. It works by slowing or stopping the growth of cancer cells in the body.

This medicine may be given in a clinic or hospital.

Your child will have regular blood tests to check how their body responds to the medicine. Patients may get another medicine to reduce nausea.

This medicine can cause severe side effects. These include liver damage, birth defects, and reducing the number of blood cells in the bone marrow. Talk to your doctor about risks of using dacarbazine.

Dacarbazine can cause tissue damage, blisters, or skin irritation if it leaks from the vein. Tell your care team if your child has pain, burning, redness, or swelling around the IV site.


May be given into a vein by IV

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Possible side effects

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Bone marrow suppression (low counts)
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Infusion-site pain
  • Hair loss
  • Flushed skin or sudden redness in the face, neck, or chest
  • Numbness or tingling of the face
  • Tiredness or fatigue
  • Sensitive to sunlight or other types of ultraviolet light

Severe side effects

Some people have severe side effects after receiving dacarbazine. Contact your child’s health care team right away if your child has any of the following:

  • Bleeding. Signs of bleeding include:
    • Throwing up or coughing up blood
    • Vomit that looks like coffee grounds
    • Blood in the urine
    • Black, red, or tarry stools (poop)
    • Bleeding from the gums
    • Vaginal bleeding that is not normal
    • Bruises without a cause or bruises that get bigger
    • Bleeding that does not stop
  • Infection. Signs of an infection include:
    • Fever
    • Chills
    • Very bad sore throat
    • Ear or sinus pain
    • Cough
    • More sputum (phlegm or mucus) or a change in its color
    • Pain when urinating
    • Mouth sores
    • A wound that does not heal
  • Allergic reaction – Call your care team right away if your child has symptoms of an allergic reaction. These may include:
    • Rash, hives, or itching
    • Flu-like symptoms such as chills, aches, headache, or fever 
    • Dizziness
    • Shortness of breath, coughing, or tightness in the throat  
    • Swelling of the face or neck

Not all patients who take dacarbazine will have these side effects. Common side effects are in bold, but there may be others. Report any symptoms or side effects to your provider or pharmacist. Find more information on side effects.

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Possible long-term or late effects

  • Patients who take dacarbazine may be at risk for medical problems later in life. These can include fertility problems, low blood counts or aplastic anemia, second cancers, and bruising or bleeding caused by thrombocytopenia.
  • Liver problem. Signs of a liver problem may include:
    • Nausea
    • Extreme tiredness
    • Unusual bleeding or bruising
    • Lack of energy or appetite
    • Pain in the upper right part of the stomach
    • Yellowing of the skin or eyes

Your care team can give you more information about your child’s risk.

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Tips for patients and families

Be sure to discuss all questions and instructions with your doctor or pharmacist.

  • Caregivers and family members should avoid contact with patient body fluids as instructed. Patient body fluids can contain the drug for 48 hours after it is given.
  • Some patients may have a reaction to this medicine. Let your care team know about any symptoms during the infusion.
  • Certain medicines can interact with dacarbazine. Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all medicines your child takes.
  • Tell all of your child's health care providers that your child is taking this drug. This includes your child's doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
  • This medicine can weaken the immune system and increase the risk of infection. Wash hands often, keep patient areas clean, and avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • This medicine may cause mouth sores. Good dental hygiene, a soft food diet, lip care, and ice therapy can help prevent and treat mouth sores. Your care team may prescribe a mouth rinse to keep the mouth clean and help with irritation.
  • Your child may bleed more easily, and wounds may heal more slowly. Brush teeth gently with a soft toothbrush, use an electric razor to shave, and avoid activities that can cause injury.
  • This medicine may make skin more sensitive to sunlight and increase risk for sunburn. Take steps to protect skin from the sun. Have your child wear sunscreen and protective clothing. Avoid sun exposure when possible.
  • Your care team may prescribe medicine to reduce side effects like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or decreased appetite.
  • Have blood work checked as you have been told by the doctor.
  • It is important that patients tell the care team if they are sexually active, pregnant, or breastfeeding.
  • Sexually active patients should take steps to prevent pregnancy during treatment. 

Learn more about dacarbazine