Therapeutic uses of gallium nitrate: past, present, and future

Am J Ther. 1999 Nov;6(6):327-39. doi: 10.1097/00045391-199911000-00008.


Injectable gallium (Ga) nitrate, approved in the United States for the treatment of hypercalcemia of malignancy, has been known for more than 2 decades to have immunosuppressive properties. At therapeutic doses, it has few adverse effects, although high-dose infusions may result in severe nephrotoxicity, particularly in patients who are not adequately hydrated, and severe anemia. In animal models, Ga has been shown to have efficacy in the treatment of adjuvant arthritis, type 1 diabetes, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, experimental pulmonary inflammation, cardiac allograft rejection, experimental autoimmune uveitis, endotoxic shock, and systemic lupus erythematosus. Clinical trials have demonstrated efficacy in Paget's disease of bone and activity against some malignancies, including epithelial ovarian carcinoma, non-squamous cell carcinoma of the cervix, bladder cancer, and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Other clinical trials underway include studies of sarcoidosis and rheumatoid arthritis. Future studies should be conducted not only in other autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, but also in graft-versus-host disease, leprosy, and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacokinetics*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Gallium / adverse effects*
  • Gallium / pharmacokinetics*
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / adverse effects*
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / pharmacokinetics*
  • Mice


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Gallium
  • gallium nitrate