Mechanism of bleomycin action: In vitro studies

Richard M. Burger, Jack Peisach, Susan Band Horwitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

127 Scopus citations


The cytotoxic activity of bleomucin results from DNA cleavage, which is also accomplished in vitro by reaction mixtures containing Fe(II), drug and O2. Bleomycin forms a complex with Fe(II) and O2 in the presence or absence of DNA. The species attacking DNA forms rapidly from this complex. The nature of the attacking species and of the primary lesion(s) to DNA are not yet known, but two major insults to DNA have been characterized. They are the release of free bases from their glycosidic linkages and, at other residues, the cleavage of the polymer backbone at the deoxyribose C3-C4 bond.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)715-727
Number of pages13
JournalLife Sciences
Issue number7
StatePublished - Feb 16 1981

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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