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J Comp Pathol. 1990 Jul;103(1):37-48.

Malignant, non-Hodgkin's lymphomas in Trypanosoma cruzi-infected rabbits treated with nitroarenes.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Brasília, Brazil.


Use of 2-nitroimidazole, 5-nitrofuran and 5-nitroimidazole compounds in T. cruzi-infected rabbits resulted in a reduction in duration of parasitaemia in comparison with untreated, infected rabbits. The chronic myocarditis associated with Chagas' disease was not, however, prevented in nitroarene-treated rabbits; lymphocytic infiltrates associated with cardiac cell lysis, in the absence of parasites in situ, were present in both treated and untreated rabbits. The carcinogenic effect of each trypanocidal nitroarene used in this study was also assessed. Administration of nitroarenes to rabbits resulted in the appearance of solid tumours in 37.8 per cent of animals that received drug therapy. Untreated, control rabbits in this series did not show tumour growth. Furthermore, malignant, mixed-cell type, non-Hodgkin's lymphomas were seen in 32.4 per cent of the treated rabbits. It seems that a direct relationship could be present between the presence of the nitro group, the trypanocidal cytotoxicity and the prevalence of tumours. Benznidazole cleared up parasitaemias in the shortest time and was associated with 41.6 per cent of lymphoma growths, whereas MK-436 required twice as much time to clear blood parasites, and showed lymphomas in 25 per cent of experimental rabbits. The demonstration of a high prevalence of malignant tumours in addition to the chronic myocarditis of Chagas' disease in nitroarene-treated rabbits is important since indiscriminate use of such compounds currently used to treat T. cruzi infections in man could increase the risk of lymphoma.

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