Table of Contents
Metal-Based Drugs
Volume 5, Issue 4, Pages 217-223

Antitumor Activity of Gold(I), Silver(I) and Copper(I) Complexes Containing Chiral Tertiary Phosphines

1Department of Pharmacology and Clinical Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine and Health Services, The University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland, New Zealand
2Australian National University, Chemistry Department, The Faculties, A.C.T, Canberra 0200, Australia
3Australian National University, John Curtin School of Medical Research, A.C.T, Canberra 0200, Australia
4Australian National University, Research School of Chemistry, A.C.T, Canberra 0200, Australia

Received 1 July 1998; Accepted 14 July 1998

Copyright © 1998 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. 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.


The in vitro cytotoxicities of a number of gold(I), silver(I) and copper(I) complexes containing chiral tertiary phosphine ligands have been examined against the mouse tumour cell lines P815 mastocytoma, B16 melanoma [gold(I) and silver(I) compounds] and P388 leukaemia [gold(I) complexes only] with many of the complexes having IC50 values comparable to that of the reference compounds cis-diamminedichloroplatinum(ll), cisplatin, and bis[1,2-bis(diphenylphosphino) ethane]gold(I) iodide. The chiral tertiary phosphine ligands used in this study include (R)-(2-aminophenyl)methylphenylphosphine; (R,R)-, (S,S)- and (R*,R*)-1,2-phenylenebis(methylphenylphosphine); and (R,R)-, (S,S)- and (R*,R*)-bis{(2-diphenylphosphinoethyl)phenylphosphino}ethane. The in vitro cytotoxicities of gold(I) and silver(I) complexes containing the optically active forms of the tetra(tertiary phosphine) have also been examined against the human ovarian carcinoma cell lines 41M and CH1, and the cisplatin resistant 41McisR, CH1cisR and SKOV-3 tumour models. IC50 values in the range 0.01 - 0.04 μM were determined for the most active compounds, silver(I) complexes of the tetra(tertiary phosphine). Furthermore, the chirality of the ligand appeared to have little effect on the overall activity of the complexes: similar IC50 data were obtained for complexes of a particular metal ion with each of the stereoisomeric forms of a specific ligand.