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J Inorg Biochem. 2011 Jun;105(6):858-66. doi: 10.1016/j.jinorgbio.2011.03.005. Epub 2011 Mar 22.

The synthesis and characterization of a series of cobalt(II) β-ketoaminato complexes and their cytotoxic activity towards human tumor cell lines.

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Department of Chemistry, University of British Columbia Okanagan, 3333 University Way, Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada, V1V 1V7.


A series of square planar cobalt(II) compounds bearing tetradentate β-ketoaminato ligands with variation in the number of -CF(3) ligand substituents has been prepared and structurally and spectroscopically characterized. The fluorinated β-ketoamine ligands were prepared utilizing a multistep reaction sequence employing a silylenol protecting group. An additional tetrahedral cobalt compound bearing two bidentate β-ketoaminato ligands was also prepared and characterized. Cytotoxic activity of the cobalt-containing complexes was evaluated using six human cell lines; including two different prostate cancer cell lines (PC-3 and VCaP), acute monocytic leukemia (THP-1), astrocytoma (U-373 MG), hepatocellular carcinoma (HepG2), and neuroblastoma (SH-SY5Y) cells. The cobalt compounds are more active than their corresponding ligands. The activity is cell type specific; the cobalt compounds exhibit strong activity against human prostate cancer and monocytic leukemia cells but weak or no activity against neuroblastoma, astrocytoma, and liver carcinoma cells. Activity generally increases with a greater number of -CF(3) substituents, and square planar complexes exhibit greater activity than the tetrahedral derivative. The mechanisms of activity against human PC-3 prostate cancer cells involve caspase-3 and two different mitogen-activated protein kinases. The addition of a thiol antioxidant reduced cytotoxicity, suggesting the possible involvement of reactive oxygen species. These cobalt complexes may represent a novel class of cytotoxic drugs selective towards certain types of tumors.

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