Biological Monitoring of Healthcare Workers Exposed to Antineoplastic Drugs: Urinary Assessment of Cyclophosphamide and Ifosfamide

Document Type: Research article


1 Tracheal Diseases Research Center, National Research Institute of Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases (NRITLD), Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

2 Department of Environmental Health Engineering, School of Public Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

3 Center for Air Pollution Research (CAPR), Institute for Environmental Research (IER), Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.


Exposure of health care workers to antineoplastic drugs and subsequent adverse health effects is still an open issue. Very little has been studied on the extent of occupational exposure and handling conditions of antineoplastic drugs in Iran. We aimed to determine cyclophosphamide and ifosfamide concentrations in the urine samples of oncology healthcare workers. In addition, we assessed workplace safety controls that are important to decrease occupational exposure.Urinary samples of subject and control groups were collected to measure pre and post-shift cyclophosphamide and ifosfamide concentrations. Prior to sample collection, an occupational toxicologist observed and recorded working safety conditions for the healthcare workers during an eight-week period. Heath care workers were also asked about occurrence of acute adverse health effects. A total number of 425 chemotherapeutic drugs (389.83 g) were prepared during the study. Cyclophosphamide was detected in five pre-shift and nine post-shift urine samples. One pre-shift and four post-shift urine samples were positive for Ifosfamide. The urine samples of control group had no detectable concentrations of cyclophosphamide and ifosfamide. Personal protective equipment usage was not adequate for handling activities. Some adverse health effects reported by oncology personnel confirmed exposure to antineoplastic drugs. High percentage of oncology personnel was exposed to antineoplastic drugs that could be related to the large amount of drug preparations and inadequate safety controls. We recommend training of oncology personnel, implementation of safety controls, and periodic surveillance in order to minimize workplace contamination and occupational exposure to antineoplastic drugs.


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