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Mutat Res. 1994 Mar 1;305(2):189-96.

Chagas' disease: carcinogenic activity of the antitrypanosomal nitroarenes in mice.

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  • 1Laboratory for Multidisciplinary Research in Chagas' Disease, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Brasilia, Brazil.


The carcinogenic activity of antitrypanosomal 2-nitroimidazole, 5-nitroimidazole and 5-nitrofuran derivatives was assessed in female Swiss mice of the same age group. A statistically significantly higher incidence of growths was seen in mice into which 2-nitro had been injected than in mice receiving 5-nitro derivatives intraperitoneally. A histologic type of lymphoblastic lymphoma that invades lymph nodes, spleen, liver, lungs and lymphatic tissue elsewhere was frequently found in nitroarene-treated mice. Further, it is shown that the potency of the drug, rather than the duration of its administration, was usually associated with the growth of lymphomas. The 2-nitro derivative which induced the highest incidence of lymphomas significantly decreased the survival of treated mice; this probably occurred because it undergoes enzymatic reduction of the nitro group more efficiently than the 5-nitro compounds used. The differences of incidence of lymphomas in mice receiving any of these nitroarenes and in control mice that received daily injections of 0.15 M saline were statistically significant (alpha = 0.05). The indiscriminate use of these nitroarenes to treat Trypanosoma cruzi infections in man could therefore induce a significant number of lymphomas.

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