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Special Issue "Metal Anticancer Complexes"

A special issue of Molecules (ISSN 1420-3049). This special issue belongs to the section "Inorganic Chemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 November 2019

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Kogularamanan Suntharalingam

King's College London, Department of Chemistry, London, United Kingdom
Website | E-Mail
Interests: metallopharmaceuticals; metallodrugs; biorganometallic complexes; biologically-active metal clusters; metal-based drug delivery agents; cancer metallomics; metal–protein interactions; metal–nucleic acid interactions; theranostics metal complexes; cancer imaging agents

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The identification of chemical agents with therapeutic potential is of high importance for research in bioinorganic chemistry and medicinal chemistry. Traditionally, organic molecules have dominated research in this area, and thus relatively little is known about the therapeutic properties of inorganic compounds. Despite breakthrough therapies for the treatment of cancer based on platinum, arsenic, and ruthenium compounds, metal complexes have received relatively little attention from the pharmaceutical industry and the chemical biology/medicinal chemistry research community as a whole. A number of small spinout companies have now started in-house research programs aimed at addressing key bioinorganic aspects of medicine; however, few large pharmaceutical companies have such mechanisms in place. The versatility of metal complexes, which arises from the choice of metal, oxidation state, redox activity, number and type of ligands, coordination geometry, and magnetic and optical properties, deserves to be investigated further in the context of rational drug design. This Special Issue of Molecules aims to showcase recent advancements in any aspect of metal-based anticancer therapeutics design and development. Synthetic, biophysical, in vitro, and in vivo studies are all welcome. Review articles that describe the current state of metal-based cancer therapeutics development, in any context, are also welcome.

Dr. Kogularamanan Suntharalingam
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Molecules is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • metallopharmaceuticals
  • metallodrugs
  • biorganometallic complexes
  • biologically-active metal clusters
  • metal-based drug delivery agents
  • cancer metallomics
  • metal–protein interactions
  • metal–nucleic acid interactions
  • theranostics metal complexes
  • cancer imaging agents

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessFeature PaperCommunication
Modulating the Chemical and Biological Properties of Cancer Stem Cell-Potent Copper(II)-Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug Complexes
Molecules 2019, 24(9), 1677; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24091677
Received: 5 April 2019 / Revised: 23 April 2019 / Accepted: 27 April 2019 / Published: 29 April 2019
PDF Full-text (700 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Copper(II) complexes bearing nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are known to potently kill cancer stem cells (CSCs), a subpopulation of tumour cells with high metastatic and relapse fidelity. One of the major disadvantages associated to these copper(II) complexes is their instability in the presence [...] Read more.
Copper(II) complexes bearing nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are known to potently kill cancer stem cells (CSCs), a subpopulation of tumour cells with high metastatic and relapse fidelity. One of the major disadvantages associated to these copper(II) complexes is their instability in the presence of strong cellular reductants (such as ascorbic acid). Here we present a biologically stable copper(II)-NSAID complex containing a bathocuproinedisulfonic acid disodium ligand and two indomethacin moieties, Cu(bathocuproinedisulfonic acid disodium)(indomethacin)2, 2. The copper(II) complex, 2 kills bulk breast cancer cells and breast CSC equally (in the sub-micromolar range) and displays very low toxicity against non-tumorigenic breast and kidney cells (IC50 value > 100 µM). Three-dimensional cell culture studies show that 2 can significantly reduce the number and size of breast CSC mammospheres formed (from single suspensions) to a similar level as salinomycin (an established anti-breast CSC agent). The copper(II) complex, 2 is taken up reasonably by breast CSCs and localises largely in the cytoplasm (>90%). Cytotoxicity studies in the presence of specific inhibitors suggest that 2 induces CSC death via a reactive oxygen species (ROS) and cyclooxygenase isoenzyme-2 (COX-2) dependent apoptosis pathway. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metal Anticancer Complexes)

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