Get access

Iron Chelation in the Treatment of Cancer: A New Role for Deferasirox?

Authors

  • Matthew R. Bedford BSc(Hons), MBChB, MRCSEd,

    1. School of Cancer Studies, Department of Medical and Dental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Samuel J. Ford MBChB(Hons), MRCS, PhD,

    1. School of Cancer Studies, Department of Medical and Dental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Richard D. Horniblow MSci,

    1. School of Cancer Studies, Department of Medical and Dental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Tariq H. Iqbal FRCP, MD,

    1. School of Cancer Studies, Department of Medical and Dental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Chris Tselepis BSc(Hons), PhD

    Corresponding author
    1. School of Cancer Studies, Department of Medical and Dental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom
    • Corresponding Author:

      Dr. Chris Tselepis, School of Cancer Sciences, University of Birmingham, Vincent Drive, Birmingham B15 2TT, United Kingdom

      Email: c.tselepis@bham.ac.uk

    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

Iron plays a crucial role in a number of metabolic pathways including oxygen transport, DNA synthesis, and ATP generation. Although insufficient systemic iron can result in physical impairment, excess iron has also been implicated in a number of diseases including ischemic heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Iron chelators are agents which bind iron and facilitate its excretion. Experimental iron chelators have demonstrated potent anti-neoplastic properties in a number of cancers in vitro. These agents have yet to be translated into clinical practice, however, largely due to the significant side effects encountered in pre-clinical models. A number of licenced chelators, however, are currently in clinical use for the treatment of iron overload associated with certain non-neoplastic diseases. Deferasirox is one such agent and the drug has shown significant anti-tumor effects in a number of in vitro and in vivo studies. Deferasirox is orally administered and has demonstrated a good side effect profile in clinical practice to date. It represents an attractive agent to take forward into clinical trials of iron chelators as anti-cancer agents.

Ancillary