Determination of the vaporization of solutions of mutagenic antineoplastic agents at 23 and 37°C using a desiccator technique

Thomas H. Connor, Megan Shults, Mathew P. Fraser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


This study evaluated the ability of mutagenic antineoplastic agents to vaporize at room temperature (23°C) and 37°C. A bacterial mutagenicity assay was used to determine the mutagenicity of these agents in the vapor phase. Open plates of bacteria were exposed to varying amounts of drug solutions in sealed glass containers for 24 h. The drug solutions were prepared as they would be for patient treatment and were tested at 0.25, 0.5 and 1.0 ml of each drug solution per 10 l of air. Following exposure, the plates exposed at 23°C were incubated an additional 48 h at 37°C to allow for expression of mutations. Those exposed at 37°C were incubated for an additional 24 h at 37°C. Carmustine, cyclophosphamide, ifosfamide, thiotepa, and mustargen demonstrated vaporization at 37°C. Carmustine and mustargen also demonstrated significant vaporization at 23°C, while cyclophosphamide demonstrated a 50% increase in revertants at this temperature. In addition, sodium azide, a known mutagen used as a control was also mutagenic as a vapor at both temperatures. Doxorubicin, cisplatin, etoposide, 5-fluorouracil and mitomycin were not detected as vaporizing in this assay. The study found that vaporization of standard solutions of some antineoplastic agents is possible at room temperature and increases as the temperature increases. Therefore, vaporization of spilled antineoplastic agents may present an additional route of exposure to healthcare workers through inhalation. (C) 2000 Published by Elsevier Science B.V.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-92
Number of pages8
JournalMutation Research - Genetic Toxicology and Environmental Mutagenesis
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 10 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Antineoplastic agents
  • Occupational exposure
  • Salmonella
  • Vaporization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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