Table of Contents
ISRN Spectroscopy
Volume 2013, Article ID 287353, 29 pages
Review Article

Platinum and Palladium Polyamine Complexes as Anticancer Agents: The Structural Factor

Research Unit “Molecular Physical Chemistry,” Department of Life Sciences, Faculty of Science and Technology, University of Coimbra, Apartado 3046, 3001-401 Coimbra, Portugal

Received 13 November 2012; Accepted 11 December 2012

Academic Editors: J. Casado, A. A. Ensafi, and M. Mączka

Copyright © 2013 M. P. M. Marques. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Since the introduction of cisplatin to oncology in 1978, Pt(II) and Pd(II) compounds have been intensively studied with a view to develop the improved anticancer agents. Polynuclear polyamine complexes, in particular, have attracted special attention, since they were found to yield DNA adducts not available to conventional drugs (through long-distance intra- and interstrand cross-links) and to often circumvent acquired cisplatin resistance. Moreover, the cytotoxic potency of these polyamine-bridged chelates is strictly regulated by their structural characteristics, which renders this series of compounds worth investigating and their synthesis being carefully tailored in order to develop third-generation drugs coupling an increased spectrum of activity to a lower toxicity. The present paper addresses the latest developments in the design of novel antitumor agents based on platinum and palladium, particularly polynuclear chelates with variable length aliphatic polyamines as bridging ligands, highlighting the close relationship between their structural preferences and cytotoxic ability. In particular, studies by vibrational spectroscopy techniques are emphasised, allowing to elucidate the structure-activity relationships (SARs) ruling anticancer activity.