, Volume 41, Issue 4, pp 1128–1134 | Cite as

Double-Sided Personality: Effects of Arsenic Trioxide on Inflammation

  • Juan Zhang
  • Yue Zhang
  • Weiyan Wang
  • Chunling Li
  • Zhiyi Zhang


In 1992, arsenic trioxide (As2O3, ATO) was demonstrated to be an effective therapeutic agent against acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL), rekindling attention to ATO applications in U.S. Food and Drug Administration clinical trials for the treatment of cancers, such as leukemia, lymphomas, and solid tumors. ATO is a potent chemotherapeutic drug that can also be used to treat other diseases, such as autoimmune diseases, because it affects multiple pathways including apoptosis induction, differentiation stimulation, and proliferation inhibition. As inflammation is a critical component of disease progression, ATO is a feasible treatment option based on its ability to protect against inflammation. However, ATO is also a well-known carcinogen because of its pro-inflammatory effect. This review will focus on the double-sided effects of ATO on inflammation as well as the relevant mechanisms underlying these effects, aiming to provide a rational understanding of how ATO effects the immune system. We especially aim to provide a comprehensive overview of our current knowledge of how ATO influences inflammation.


arsenic trioxide inflammation cancer drug toxicity 



This work is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC 81771749) to Zhiyi Zhang.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest to declare.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of RheumatologyThe First Affiliated Hospital, Harbin Medical UniversityHarbinChina

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