Cu(i) complexes as new antiproliferative agents against sensitive and doxorubicin resistant colorectal cancer cells: synthesis, characterization, and mechanisms of action

Diogo Sequeira, Pedro V. Baptista, Ruben Valente, M. Fátima M. M. Piedade, M. Helena Garcia, Tânia S. Morais, Alexandra R. Fernandes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Cancer is one of the worst health issues worldwide, representing the second leading cause of death. Current chemotherapeutic drugs face some challenges like the acquired resistance of the tumoral cells and low specificity leading to unwanted side effects. There is an urgent need to develop new compounds that may target resistant cells. The synthesis and characterization of two Cu(i) complexes of general formula [Cu(PP)(LL)][BF4], where PP is a phosphane ligand (triphenylphosphine or 1,2-bis(diphenylphosphano) ethane) and LL = is a heteroaromatic bidentate ligand (4,4′-dimethyl-2,2′-bipyridine and 6,3-(2-pyridyl)-5,6-diphenyl-1,2,4-triazine). The new compounds were fully characterized by spectroscopic techniques (NMR, FTIR and UV-vis.), elemental analysis (C, H, N and S) and two structures were determined by single X-ray diffraction studies. The antiproliferative potential of the new Cu(i) complexes were studied in tumor (breast adenocarcinoma, ovarian carcinoma and in colorectal carcinoma sensitive and resistant to doxorubicin) and normal (fibroblasts) cell lines. Complexes1-4did not show any antiproliferative potential. Amongst the complexes5-8, complex8shows high cytotoxic potential against colorectal cancer sensitive and resistant to doxorubicin and low cytotoxicity towards healthy cells. We show that complexes5-8can cleave pDNA and, in particular, thein vitropDNA cleavage is due to an oxidative mechanism. This oxidative mechanism corroborates the induction of reactive oxygen species (ROS), that triggers HCT116 cell deathviaapoptosis, as proved by the increased expression of BAX protein relative to BCL-2 protein and the depolarization of mitochondrial membrane potential, andviaautophagy. Additionally, complex8can block the cell cycle in the G1 phase, also exhibiting a cytostatic potential. Proteomic analysis confirmed the apoptotic, autophagic and cytostatic potential of complex8, as well as its ability to produce ROS and cause DNA damage. The interference of the complex in folding and protein synthesis and its ability to cause post-translational modifications was also verified. Finally, it was observed that the complex causes a reduction in cellular metabolism. The results herein demonstrated the potential of Cu(i) complexes in targeting doxorubicin sensitive and resistant cells which is positive and must be further explored usingin vivoanimal models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1845-1865
Number of pages21
JournalDalton Transactions
Volume50
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Feb 2021

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