Metal-free salan-type compound induces apoptosis and overcomes multidrug resistance in leukemic and lymphoma cells in vitro

  • Maxim Dragoun
  • Thomas Günther
  • Corazon Frias
  • Albrecht Berkessel
  • Aram Prokop
Original Article – Cancer Research



We report on our preclinical findings of a simple salicylic diamine compound (THG 1213) which has yielded exceptional results as a potential chemotherapeutic drug. THG 1213 is an easy to synthesize chiral and metal-free salan compound.


THG 1213 was tested on several leukemia, lymphoma and solid tumor cell lines in vitro. The effects have been studied by LDH release essay, FACS flow cytometry, photometric cell count, immunoblotting, and NMR spectroscopy.


THG 1213 selectively inhibits proliferation and induces apoptosis in leukemia, lymphoma and solid tumor cell lines. Necrosis or effects on healthy leucocytes could not be detected. Apoptosis is induced via the intrinsic and extrinsic pathways. The salan THG 1213 overcomes multidrug resistance in tumor cells and acts synergistically with vincristine and daunorubicin.


THG 1213 displays remarkable antitumor properties. In particular, the lack of metallic components of THG 1213 could prove to be beneficial in future clinical trials, as metal-containing drugs are known to show severe side effects.


Cancer Leukemia Multidrug resistance Apoptosis Salan 



Financial support from the Fonds der Chemischen Industrie, as well as the Robert-Koch foundation (Berlin) and the Dr. Kleist Foundation (Berlin) is gratefully acknowledged. We thank Lea Reichel for her contribution.


Financial support from the Fonds der Chemischen Industrie, as well as the Robert-Koch foundation (Berlin) and the Dr. Kleist Foundation (Berlin) is gratefully acknowledged.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Pediatric Hematology/OncologyChildren’s Hospital CologneCologneGermany
  2. 2.Department of Chemistry, Organic ChemistryUniversity of CologneCologneGermany

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