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Anti-Cancer Agents in Medicinal Chemistry


ISSN (Print): 1871-5206
ISSN (Online): 1875-5992

Research Article

Improving Cytotoxicity against Breast Cancer Cells by Using Mixed-Ligand Ruthenium(II) Complexes of 2,2'-Bipyridine, Amino Acid, and Nitric Oxide Derivatives as Potential Anticancer Agents

Author(s): Ana P.S. Gaspari, Roberto Santana da Silva*, Zumira A. Carneiro, Marcelo Rodrigues de Carvalho, Ivone Carvalho, Laena Pernomian, Lucimara P. Ferreira, Loyanne C.B. Ramos, Gabriel Aguiar de Souza and André L.B. Formiga

Volume 21 , Issue 12 , 2021

Published on: 20 October, 2020

Page: [1602 - 1611] Pages: 10

DOI: 10.2174/0929867327666201020155105

Price: $65


Background: Several metal-based molecules that display cytotoxicity against multiple cell lines have been pursued in an attempt to fight against cancer and to overcome the typical side effects of drugs like cisplatin. In this scenario, ruthenium complexes have been extensively studied due to their activity in both in vitro and in vivo biological systems, including various cancer cell strains.

Objective: We aimed to develop a method to synthesize novel [Ru(NO)(bpy)2L2]2+ complexes containing amino acid ligands by using an alternative Click Chemistry approach, namely the copper azide-alkyne cycloaddition reaction (CuAAC reaction), to construct nitrosyl/nitrite complexes bearing a modified lysine residue.

Methods: We synthesized a new ligand by Click Chemistry approach and new compounds bearing the unprecedented ligand. Cytotoxicity was assessed by the classical MTT colorimetric assay. MCF-7 and MDAMB- 231 cells were used as breast cancer cell models. MCF-10 was used as a model of healthy cells.

Results: Amino acid ligands related to N3-Lys(Fmoc) and the new pyLys were successfully synthesized by the diazotransfer reaction and the CuAAC reaction, respectively. The latter reaction involves coupling between N3-Lys(Fmoc) and 3ethynylpyridine. Both N3-Lys(Fmoc) and the new pyLys were introduced into the ruthenium bipyridine complex I, or cis-[RuII(NO)(NO2)(bpy)2]2+, to generate the common nitro-based complex III, which was further converted to the final complex IV. Results of the MTT assay proved the cytotoxic effect of cis- [RuII(NO)(pyLysO-)(bpy)2](PF6)2 against the mammalian breast cancer cells MCF-7 and MDA-MB231.

Conclusion: The viability assays revealed that complex IV, bearing a NO group and a modified lysine residue, was able to release NO and cross tumor cell membranes. In this work, Complex IV was observed to be the most active ruthenium bipyridine complex against the mammalian breast cancer cells MCF-7 and MDA-MB231: it was approximately twice as active as cisplatin, whilst complexes I-III proved to be less cytotoxic than complex IV. Additional tests using healthy MCF 10A cells showed that complexes II-IV were three- to sixfold less toxic than cisplatin, which suggested that complex IV was selective against cancer cells.

Keywords: Ruthenium complexes as anticancer agents, improving cytotoxicity with amino acid-ruthenium complex, nitric oxide release agent, triple-negative breast cancer cytotoxicity, improving click chemistry reaction in ruthenium complexes, ruthenium bipyridine complexes.

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