Oral administration of dihydroartemisinin and ferrous sulfate retarded implanted fibrosarcoma growth in the rat

Cancer Lett. 1995 Nov 27;98(1):83-7.


In the presence of iron, dihydroartemisinin forms free radicals and causes cell death. Since most cancer cells have high rates of iron intake, dihydroartemisinin would have selective cytotoxic effect on cancer cells. The present experiment was designed to study the effect of dihydroartemisinin and ferrous sulfate on the growth of implanted fibrosarcoma in the rat. We found that the growth rate of the tumor was significantly retarded by daily oral administration of ferrous sulfate followed by dihydroartemisinin. No significant tumor growth retardation effect was observed in rats treated with either dihydroartemisinin or ferrous sulfate alone. The drug treatment did not significantly affect body weight compared with untreated tumor-implanted animals and no apparent toxic effect was observed after drug treatment. An artemisinin analog-ferrous salt combination may provide a novel approach for cancer therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / administration & dosage*
  • Artemisinins*
  • Female
  • Ferrous Compounds / administration & dosage*
  • Fibrosarcoma / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasm Transplantation
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred F344
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / administration & dosage
  • Sesquiterpenes / administration & dosage*


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Artemisinins
  • Ferrous Compounds
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Sesquiterpenes
  • ferrous sulfate
  • artenimol