Skip to Main Content

Welcome to

Together is a new resource for anyone affected by pediatric cancer - patients and their parents, family members, and friends.

Learn More


Immunotherapy Monoclonal Antibody

Brand names:


Often used for:

Acute myeloid leukemia

clipboard icon

About Gemtuzumab

Gemtuzumab is a type of medicine called a monoclonal antibody. This medicine works by attaching to a protein called CD33 found on some types of leukemia cells. When gemtuzumab attaches to cells with CD33, it delivers a chemotherapy medicine called calicheamicin into the cell. Gemtuzumab is considered a targeted therapy because the medicine is specific to certain cell features and “targets” those cells.

Blood pressure, heart rate, breathing, and temperature will be checked regularly during and after the infusion to watch for infusion-related side effects. Gemtuzumab will be protected from light during the infusion.

Gemtuzumab may be used alone or in combination with other medicines. Patients will have regular blood draws to check blood counts and monitor liver function.


Given as a liquid into a vein by IV

exclamation mark in a circle icon

Possible Side Effects

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Mouth sores
  • Flu-like symptoms (fever, chills)
  • Low blood counts (may cause increased risk of infection, bleeding, anemia and/or fatigue)
  • Headache
  • Low blood pressure
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Rash
  • Liver problems
  • Kidney problems
  • Low potassium levels in the blood
  • Infusion-related reactions: Symptoms may include chills, shortness of breath, coughing, dizziness, low blood pressure, pain in the chest, swelling of the face or neck

Not all patients who take gemtuzumab will experience these side effects. Common side effects are in bold, but there may be others. Please report all suspected side effects to your doctor or pharmacist.

late effects icon

Possible Late Effects

Some patients may experience long-term or late effects of treatment that may continue or develop months or years after treatment ends. Possible late effects due to gemtuzumab include:

family icon

Tips for Families

Be sure to discuss these and other recommendations with your doctor or pharmacist.

  • Some patients may have a reaction to this medicine. Let a nurse know how you are feeling during the infusion.
  • Your care team may recommend diphenhydramine (Benadryl®) and acetaminophen (Tylenol®) and other medicines to help prevent flu-like symptoms.
  • Anti-nausea medicines may also be prescribed.
  • Sexually active patients should take steps to prevent pregnancy during treatment and for 6 months after completion of therapy.
  • Patients should tell their doctor if they are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Gemtuzumab resources