A novel synergistic effect of iron depletion on antiangiogenic cancer therapy

Toshiaki Ohara, Kazuhiro Noma, Shinichi Urano, Shinichiro Watanabe, Seishi Nishitani, Yasuko Tomono, Fumiaki Kimura, Shunsuke Kagawa, Yasuhiro Shirakawa, Toshiyoshi Fujiwara

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23 Citations (Scopus)


Iron is an essential element for both normal and cancer cells in humans. Treatment to reduce iron levels has been shown to suppress tumor growth in vivo. However, iron depletion monotherapy by iron decreased treatment has not been thought to be superior to ordinary chemotherapy and is not part of the standard therapeutic strategy for the treatment of cancer. Iron depletion is also known to reduce serum hemoglobin and oxygen supply to the tissue, which indicates that iron depletion may induce angiogenesis. Therefore, we hypothesized that iron depletion with antiangiogenic therapy can have a novel therapeutic effect in the treatment of cancer. Human nonsmall cell carcinoma cell lines A549 and H1299 were used in our study. An iron-deficient diet and an iron chelator were used to simulate an iron-depleted condition. The antitumor effects of iron depletion and antiangiogenic therapy were determined on A549 xenograft mice. The iron-depleted condition produced by an iron-deficient diet suppressed tumor growth. Tumor tissue from the iron-deficient diet group showed that cancer cell proliferation was suppressed and hypoxia was induced. Microvessel density of this group was increased which suggested that the iron-depleted condition induced angiogenesis. Bevacizumab administration had a synergetic effect on inhibiting the tumor growth on Day 39. An iron-depleted condition inhibited cancer cell proliferation and reciprocally induced angiogenesis. Bevacizumab synergistically enhanced the iron-depleted antitumor effect. Treatment to deplete iron levels combined with anti-angiogenic therapy could induce a novel therapeutic effect in the treatment of cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2705-2713
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2013


  • angiogenesis
  • bevacizumab
  • chelator
  • iron

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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