Publication in Chemical Communications

We demonstrate the potential chemotherapeutic applicability of the [Ta(η5-Cp*)Cl2(salaph)] complex 1, containing a deprotonated 2-{(E)-[(2-hydroxyphenyl)imino]methyl}phenol (H2salaph), that shows strong cytotoxicity in cancer cells with different sensitivity towards cisplatin. The cytotoxic action of complex 1 is related to the induction of apoptosis and apoptosis-related processes, specifically mitochondrial membrane depolarization, cytochrome c release into the cytosol and induction of formation of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species. In contrast to the cancer cells, complex 1 is markedly less cytotoxic in healthy cells (fibroblasts, hepatocytes). This case study implies a new strategy for the design of metallotherapeutic agents to overcome various types of cancer.