Progress in the Utilisation of Organometallic Compounds in the Development of Cancer Drugs


Klin Onkol 2019; 32(Suppl 3): 25-33. DOI: 10.14735/amko20193S25.

Background: Organometallic compounds are chemical substances containing a carbon-metal bond. From a biological point of view, these compounds are generally considered to be toxic for living organisms. They may exert therapeutic potential, especially as anticancer or antimicrobial drugs. Their structural variability and usually uncharged and mostly lipophilic character are particularly advantageous properties. Platinum derivatives (predominately cisplatin) are the most proven advantageous agents in the medical field. The success of cisplatin has led the scientific community to focus on the synthesis of other organometallic compounds with improved anti-tumour effects and lower cytotoxicity towards healthy tissues. Close attention is focused on compounds bearing atoms of iron, titanium or ruthenium. Purpose: Here, we focus on summarising a description of the most important compounds containing iron, titanium or ruthenium atoms in their structure, showing potential application in cancer treatment including the mechanism of action for some of the most commonly studied compounds. The reported structures were used successfully in preclinical studies including animal models and progressed to various stages of human clinical trials. Despite the failure of some of these compounds, there are still several candidates which are expected to progress to the late stages of the clinical trials either alone or as part of combined chemotherapy. Ruthenium-containing substances in particular show high potential for utilisation in cancer treatment due to low cytotoxicity associated with the ability to block neoangiogenesis and metastasis development.

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