Basri, Aida M., Lord, Rianne M., Allison, Simon J., Rodríguez-Bárzano, Andrea, Lucas, Stephanie J., Janeway, Felix D., Shepherd, Helena J., Pask, Christopher M., Phillips, Roger M. and McGowan, Patrick Columba (2017) Bis-Picolinamide ruthenium (III) dihalide complexes: dichloride to diiodide exchange generates single trans isomers with high potency and cancer cell selectivity. Chemistry - A European Journal. ISSN 0947-6539

A library of new bis-picolinamide ruthenium(III) dihalide complexes of the type RuX2L2 (X = Cl or I and L = picolinamide) have been synthesized and characterized. They exhibit different picolinamide ligand binding modes, whereby one ligand is bound (N,N) and the other bound (N,O). Structural studies reveal a mixture of cis and trans isomers for the RuCl2L2 complexes but upon a halide exchange reaction to RuI2L2, only single trans isomers are present. High cytotoxic activity against human cancer cell lines was observed, with potencies for some complexes similar to or better than cisplatin. Conversion to RuI2L2 substantially increased activity towards cancer cell lines by >12-fold. The RuI2L2 complexes displayed potent activity against the A2780cis (cisplatin-resistant human ovarian cancer) cell line, with >4-fold higher potency than cisplatin. Equitoxic activity was observed against normoxic and hypoxic cancer cells, indicating potential to eradicate both the hypoxic and aerobic fractions of solid tumours with similar efficiency. Selected complexes were also tested against non-cancer ARPE-19 cells. The RuI2L2 complexes are more potent than the RuCl2L2 analogues, and also more selective towards cancer cells with a selectivity factor >7-fold

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