Cancer Home > What Is Chlorambucil Used For?

Using Chlorambucil for Lymphoma

Lymphoma occurs when lymphocytes (white blood cells of the lymphatic system) become abnormal and begin to grow and divide without control or order. The lymphatic system includes lymph nodes, bone marrow, and the spleen. In addition, lymphatic tissue is found in other parts of the body, including the skin. Lymphoma can start almost anywhere lymphatic tissue is present.
There are two main types of lymphoma, including:
  • Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
  • Hodgkin's lymphoma, which is marked by the presence of a type of cell called the Reed-Sternberg cell.
Both types of lymphoma include a large, diverse group of cancers.
Chlorambucil is approved to treat non-Hodgkin's and Hodgkin's lymphoma. Chlorambucil will not cure lymphoma, but may be useful in reducing symptoms.

How Does This Medicine Work?

Chlorambucil belongs to a group of medicines known as alkylating agents. It works by interfering with DNA replication, which is a process necessary for cells to copy themselves and divide. This causes cell death. The medication also activates a protein that causes cell death by a process known as apoptosis.
While chlorambucil can kill both healthy and cancerous cells, it has a greater effect on cells that are multiplying rapidly. Generally, cancer cells multiply more rapidly than healthy cells and are, therefore, more affected by chlorambucil.

Can Children Use It?

Chlorambucil has not been adequately studied in children, and is not approved for use in this age group. This does not mean the medication cannot be used in a child, however. Talk to your child's healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of using this medication in children. Children may have an increased risk for seizures with chlorambucil use.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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