Metals in Cancer Research: Beyond Platinum Metallodrugs

Angela Casini, Alexander Pöthig

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The discovery of the medicinal properties of platinum complexes has fueled the design and synthesis of new anticancer metallodrugs endowed with unique modes of action (MoA). Among the various families of experimental antiproliferative agents, organometallics have emerged as ideal platforms to control the compounds’ reactivity and stability in a physiological environment. This is advantageous to efficiently deliver novel prodrug activation strategies, as well as to design metallodrugs acting only via noncovalent interactions with their pharmacological targets. Noteworthy, another justification for the advance of organometallic compounds for therapy stems from their ability to catalyze bioorthogonal reactions in cancer cells. When not yet ideal as drug leads, such compounds can be used as selective chemical tools that benefit from the advantages of catalytic amplification to either label the target of interest (e.g., proteins) or boost the output of biochemical signals. Examples of metallodrugs for the so-called “catalysis in cells” are considered in this Outlook together with other organometallic drug candidates. The selected case studies are discussed in the frame of more general challenges in the field of medicinal inorganic chemistry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)242-250
Number of pages9
JournalACS Central Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - 28 Feb 2024


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