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Exp Hematol. 1999 May;27(5):845-52.

Effect of arsenic trioxide on viability, proliferation, and apoptosis in human megakaryocytic leukemia cell lines.

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Institut des Vaisseaux et du Sang, Hôpital Lariboisière, Paris, France.


Arsenic trioxide (As2O3) has been demonstrated to be effective for the treatment of acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) and to inhibit proliferation and produce apoptosis in the APL cell line NB4. To determine if As2O3 might be useful for the treatment of other lineages, we investigated the effects of As2O3 on viability, proliferation, and induction of apoptosis in the megakaryocytic leukemia cell lines HEL, Meg-01, UT7, and M07e. Our results showed that As2O3, at concentrations of 0.1-2.0 microM, causes a dose- and time-dependent inhibition of survival and growth in all four megakaryocytic leukemia cell lines studied. In contrast, As2O3 at similar concentrations had no effects on either viability or growth of the nonmegakaryocytic leukemia cell line HL60 and two human breast cancer cell lines, ZR75 and MCF7. In situ end-labeling of DNA fragments (TUNEL assay) indicated that As2O3, at concentrations of 0.5-2 microM, could significantly induce apoptosis in the aforementioned four megakaryocytic leukemia cell lines, but not in the nonmegakaryocytic HL60, ZR75, and MCF7 cell lines. These results were confirmed using conventional morphologic assessment and the DNA ladder assay. Induction of apoptosis in arsenic-treated Meg-01 and UT7 cells was accompanied by a dose-response decrease of Bcl-2 protein, whereas As2O3 had no effect on this measurement in HL60, ZR75, and MCF7 cell lines. Pertinently, these concentrations of As2O3 produced identical changes in the characteristics of the APL cell line NB4. Collectively, these data demonstrate that As2O3 can selectively inhibit growth and induce apoptosis in megakaryocytic leukemia cell lines. The use of As2O3 for the treatment of malignant megakaryocytic disorders should be considered.

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