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What MIC is

MIC is the name of a chemotherapy treatment that includes the drugs

  • M – Mitomycin C
  • I – Ifosfamide
  • C – Cisplatin

Click on the links above to find out about the side effects of each individual drug.

MIC is a treatment for non small cell lung cancer and sometimes food pipe cancer (oesophageal cancer).


How you have MIC

You have MIC chemotherapy as cycles of treatment. A cycle takes 3 weeks. A usual course of treatment consists of 4 to 6 cycles. 

You have all 3 drugs as injections into a vein or through a drip (infusion) on the first day of each cycle.

You can have the drugs through a thin, short tube (a cannula) put into a vein in your arm each time you have treatment. Or you may have them through a central line, a portacath, or a PICC line. These are long, plastic tubes that give the drugs directly into a large vein in your chest. The tube can stay in place throughout the treatment.

The side effects associated with MIC are listed below. You can use the links (underlined) to find out more about each effect. For more information about side effects where there is no link, please see the cancer drugs side effects section or use the search box at the top of the page.


Common side effects

More than 10 in every 100 people have one or more of the side effects listed below.

  • An increased risk of getting an infection from a drop in white blood cells – it is harder to fight infections and you can become very ill. You may have headaches, aching muscles, a cough, a sore throat, pain passing urine, or you may feel cold and shivery. If you have a severe infection this can be life threatening. Contact your treatment centre straight away if you have any of these effects or if your temperature goes above 38°C. You will have regular blood tests to check your blood cell levels
  • Tiredness and breathlessness due to a drop in red blood cells (anaemia) – you may need a blood transfusion
  • Bruising more easily due to a drop in platelets – you may have nosebleeds or bleeding gums after brushing your teeth. Or you may have lots of tiny red spots or bruises on your arms or legs (known as petechia)
  • Tiredness and weakness (fatigue) during and after treatment – most people find that their energy levels are back to normal from 6 months to a year after their treatment finishes
  • Feeling or being sick can be severe with MIC – it may begin a few hours after treatment and last for a few days. It can usually be controlled with anti sickness medicines
  • Loss of appetite
  • Kidney damagedrink plenty of water to flush the drugs out of your system. You will have fluids through your drip before and after your treatment. You have a drug called mesna with ifosfamide, to protect your bladder and kidneys
  • Hair loss
  • Loss of fertility – you may not be able to become pregnant or father a child after this treatment. Talk to your doctor before starting treatment if you think you may want to have a baby in the future. Men may be able to store sperm before starting treatment
  • You may not be able to hear some high pitched sounds – this usually gets better on its own

Occasional side effects

Between 1 and 10 in every 100 people have one or more of these.

  • Skin changes – your skin may darken temporarily or you may have an itchy rash
  • Brittle, chipped and ridged nails
  • Diarrhoeadrink plenty of fluids and tell your doctor or nurse if this is severe or lasts more than a couple of days
  • A sore mouth and mouth ulcers
  • Coughing or breathlessness due to lung inflammation – tell your doctor if you have this
  • 1 person in 8 has confusion, sleepiness, extreme lack of energy or hallucinations from ifosfamide – tell your doctor or nurse straight away if you have any of these
  • Numbness or tingling in fingers and toes affects between 1 and 2 out of every 10 people (10 to 20%). It can cause difficulty with fiddly things such as doing up buttons. This starts within a few days or weeks and usually goes within a few months of finishing treatment
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus), which nearly always gets better on its own
  • Loss of taste or a metallic taste in your mouth
  • Allergic reactions while having cisplatin – tell your nurse if you have a skin rash, itching, dizziness, or a headache. Also tell them if you have shortness of breath, anxiety, feeling hot and shivery, redness of the face, or a sudden need to pass urine
  • Inflammation around the drip siteif you notice any signs of redness, swelling or leaking at your drip site, tell your chemotherapy nurse immediately
  • There is a small risk that you may get a second cancer some years after MIC treatment

Important points to remember

You may have a few of the side effects mentioned on this page. They may be mild or more severe. A side effect may get better or worse through your course of treatment, or more side effects may develop as the course goes on. This depends on

  • How many times you've had the drug before
  • Your general health
  • The amount of the drug you have (the dose)
  • Other drugs you are having

Coping with side effects

Talk to your doctor, pharmacist or nurse about all your side effects so they can help you manage them. They can give you advice or reassure you. Your nurse will give you a contact number to ring if you have any questions or problems. If in doubt, call them.

Other medicines

Tell your doctor about any other medicines you are taking, including vitamins, herbal supplements and over the counter remedies. Some drugs can react together.

Pregnancy and contraception

These drugs may harm a baby developing in the womb. It is important not to become pregnant or father a child while you are having treatment and for a few months afterwards. Talk to your doctor or nurse about effective contraception before starting treatment.


Do not breastfeed during this treatment because the drugs may come through in the breast milk.


Immunisations and chemotherapy

You should not have immunisations with live vaccines while you are having chemotherapy or for at least 6 months afterwards. In the UK, these include rubella, mumps, measles (usually given together as MMR), BCG, yellow fever and Zostavax (shingles vaccine).

You can have other vaccines, but they may not give you as much protection as usual until your immune system has fully recovered from your chemotherapy. It is safe to have the flu vaccine.

It is safe for you to be in contact with other people who've had live vaccines as injections. There can be problems with vaccines you take by mouth (oral vaccines), but not many people in the UK have these now. So there is usually no problem in being with any baby or child who has recently had any vaccination in the UK. You might need to make sure that you aren't in contact with anyone who has had oral polio, cholera or typhoid vaccination recently, particularly if you live abroad.


Related information


More information about MIC drugs

This page does not list all the very rare side effects of this treatment that are very unlikely to affect you. For further information about these drugs look at the Electronic Medicines Compendium website at www.medicines.org.uk.

If you have a side effect not mentioned here that you think may be due to this treatment you can report it to the Medicines Health and Regulatory Authority (MHRA) at www.mhra.gov.uk.

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Updated: 31 December 2014