The cardiotoxicity and cytotoxicity for tumor cells of four new synthetic anthraquinonyl glucosaminosides were compared in vitro. The nonhydroxylated anthraquinone was not cardiotoxic, and its cytotoxic activity was the weakest of the compounds in the series. Increasing the number of hydroxyl groups on the anthraquinone moiety increased the inhibition of growth of L-1210 leukemia cells and pancreatic or colonic adenocarcinomas in a soft agar colony formation assay. However, cardiotoxicity was also increased in proportion to the number of hydroxyl groups present. The adenocarcinomas were slightly more sensitive than the leukemias to the inhibitory action of the dihydroxylated anthraquinonyl glucosaminosides on cell growth.
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