Activity of Free and Liposomal Antimony Trioxide in the Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia Cell Line NB4

Anticancer Res. 2021 Dec;41(12):6061-6065. doi: 10.21873/anticanres.15425.


Background/aim: Antimony is a chemical element used in the therapy of parasitic diseases with a promising anticancer potential. The aim of this study was to evaluate in vitro activity of free or liposomal vesicle-packed antimony trioxide (AT or LAT) in the t(15;17)(q22;q21) translocation-positive acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) cell line NB4.

Materials and methods: Cytotoxicity was analysed with trypan blue exclusion, the MTT assay and neutral red exclusion assay; cell proliferation with PicoGreen®; and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production with DCFDA.

Results: Liposomal particles did not change the pH of the cell culture medium and entered the cells. Both formulations resulted in a time- and concentration-dependent cytotoxicity and production of ROS. LAT showed higher toxicity at lower concentrations compared to AT.

Conclusion: LAT may be used to decrease drug dosage and maintain high anti-tumoral effects on APL cells.

Keywords: Acute promyelocytic leukemia; drug repositioning; nanotechnology.

MeSH terms

  • Antimony / administration & dosage*
  • Antimony / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Drug Carriers
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Promyelocytic, Acute
  • Liposomes*
  • Nanoparticle Drug Delivery System
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism


  • Drug Carriers
  • Liposomes
  • Nanoparticle Drug Delivery System
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Antimony
  • antimony trioxide