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Anticancer Potential of Diiron Vinyliminium Complexes

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Rocco Dalila, Batchelor Lucinda K., Agonigi Gabriele, Braccini Simona, Chiellini Federica, Schoch Silvia, Biver Tarita, Funaioli Tiziana, Zacchini Stefano, Biancalana Lorenzo, Ruggeri Marina, Pampaloni Guido, Dyson Paul J., Marchetti Fabio,
Project Modulation of the site specificity of binding of metal-based drugs to chromatin
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Chemistry – A European Journal
Volume (Issue) 25(65)
Page(s) 14801 - 14816
Title of proceedings Chemistry – A European Journal
DOI 10.1002/chem.v25.65


Although ferrocene derivatives have attracted considerable attention as possible anticancer agents, the medicinal potential of diiron complexes has remained largely unexplored. Herein, we describe the straightforward multigramscale synthesis and the antiproliferative activity of a series of diiron cyclopentadienyl complexes containing bridging vinyliminium ligands. IC50 values in the low-to-mid micromolar range were determined against cisplatin sensitive and resistant human ovarian carcinoma (A2780 and A2780cisR) cell lines. Notable selectivity towards the cancerous cells lines compared to the non-tumoral human embryonic kidney (HEK-293) cell line was observed for selected compounds. The activity seems to be multimodal, involving reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation and, in some cases, a fragmentation process to afford monoiron derivatives. The large structural variability, amphiphilic character and good stability in aqueous media of the diiron vinyliminium complexes provide favorable properties compared to other widely studied classes of iron-based anticancer candidates. Introduction The peculiar characteristics of transition metals, including the variety of accessible redox states and coordination sites, offer a degree of structural diversity to metal-based drugs that is inaccessible to organic molecules.[1] Cisplatin and its derivatives are currently employed in the first line treatment of a wide range of cancers, but despite their unquestionable efficacy, severe side effects and progressive acquisition of drug resistance are associated with their use.[2, 3] Consequently, a substantial effort has been focused on the development of alternative anticancer metal drugs