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2-(3-Methoxyphenyl)-5-methyl-1,8-naphthyridin-4(1H)-one (HKL-1), a 2-phenyl-1,8-naphthyridin-4-one (2-PN) derivative, was synthesized and evaluated as an effective antimitotic agent in our laboratory. However, the molecular mechanisms are uncertain. In this study, HKL-1 was demonstrated to induce multipolar spindles, sustain mitotic arrest and generate multinucleated cells, all of which indicate mitotic catastrophe, in human leukemia HL-60 cells. Western blotting showed that HKL-1 induces mitotic catastrophe in HL-60 cells through regulating mitotic phase-specific kinases (down-regulating CDK1, cyclin B1, CENP-E, and aurora B) and regulating the expression of Bcl-2 family proteins (down-regulating Bcl-2 and up-regulating Bax and Bak), followed by caspase-9/-3 cleavage. These findings suggest that HKL-1 appears to exert its cytotoxicity toward HL-60 cells in culture by inducing mitotic catastrophe.