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Ruthenium Complexes Induce HepG2 Human Hepatocellular Carcinoma Cell Apoptosis and Inhibit Cell Migration and Invasion through Regulation of the Nrf2 Pathway

Department of Oncology, Nanhai Hospital of Southern Medical University, Foshan 528200, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Sotiris Hadjikakou
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(5), 775;
Received: 29 February 2016 / Revised: 28 April 2016 / Accepted: 5 May 2016 / Published: 19 May 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Metal Based Drugs)
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Ruthenium (Ru) complexes are currently the focus of substantial interest because of their potential application as chemotherapeutic agents with broad anticancer activities. This study investigated the in vitro and in vivo anticancer activities and mechanisms of two Ru complexes—2,3,7,8,12,13,17,18-Octaethyl-21H,23H-porphine Ru(II) carbonyl (Ru1) and 5,10,15,20-Tetraphenyl-21H,23H-porphine Ru(II) carbonyl (Ru2)—against human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells. These Ru complexes effectively inhibited the cellular growth of three human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells, with IC50 values ranging from 2.7–7.3 μM. In contrast, the complexes exhibited lower toxicity towards L02 human liver normal cells with IC50 values of 20.4 and 24.8 μM, respectively. Moreover, Ru2 significantly inhibited HepG2 cell migration and invasion, and these effects were dose-dependent. The mechanistic studies demonstrated that Ru2 induced HCC cell apoptosis, as evidenced by DNA fragmentation and nuclear condensation, which was predominately triggered via caspase family member activation. Furthermore, HCC cell treatment significantly decreased the expression levels of Nrf2 and its downstream effectors, NAD(P)H: quinone oxidoreductase 1 (NQO1) and heme oxygenase 1 (HO1). Ru2 also exhibited potent in vivo anticancer efficacy in a tumor-bearing nude mouse model, as demonstrated by a time- and dose-dependent inhibition on tumor growth. The results demonstrate the therapeutic potential of Ru complexes against HCC via Nrf2 pathway regulation. View Full-Text
Keywords: Ru complex; apoptosis; Nrf2 Ru complex; apoptosis; Nrf2

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Lu, Y.; Shen, T.; Yang, H.; Gu, W. Ruthenium Complexes Induce HepG2 Human Hepatocellular Carcinoma Cell Apoptosis and Inhibit Cell Migration and Invasion through Regulation of the Nrf2 Pathway. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17, 775.

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