Inhibition of proliferation of human leukaemic cell populations by deferoxamine

P. Foa, A. T. Maiolo, L. Lombardi, L. Villa, E. E. Polli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Deferoxamine is a hydroxylamine which binds ferric ions to form a highly stable complex. Since iron is thought to be required at a critical stage for cell proliferation, we investigated the effect of deferoxamine on the proliferative activity of human leukaemic cell populations in vitro by means of 3 permanent cell lines, HL60, U937 and 8402. We found deferoxamine to be a potent inhibitor of DNA synthesis and proliferation of leukaemic cells, acting by accumulating treated cells at the early S phase of the cell cycle. Suppression of leukaemic proliferation was obtained at deferoxamine concentrations in the range usually achieved in the treatment of patients for iron overload. Deferoxamine might therefore warrant further investigation as a potentially useful agent for leukaemia chemotherapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-110
Number of pages4
JournalScandinavian Journal of Haematology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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