Melphalan hydrochloride (news articles, forum discussions) (trade name Alkeran) is a chemotherapy drug belonging to the class of nitrogen mustard alkylating agents. It is used primarily to treat multiple myeloma and ovarian cancer, and occasionally malignant melanoma. Otherwise known as L-Phenylalanine Mustard, or L-PAM, melphalan is a phenylalanine derivative of mechlorethamine. The agent was first investigated as a possible drug for use in melanoma. It did not work, but was found to be of use in myeloma.
Oral or intravenous; dosing varies by purpose and route of administration as well as patient weight.
Common side effects include:
Nausea and vomiting
Bone marrow suppression, including
Decreased white blood cell count causing increased risk of infection
Decreased platelet count causing increased risk of bleeding
Less common side effects include:
Severe allergic reactions
Scarring of lung tissue (usually only with prolonged use)
Source: Wikipedia, Melphalan, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melphalan (as of August 8, 2008).