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Free Radic Res. 2012 Sep;46(9):1157-66. doi: 10.3109/10715762.2012.695869. Epub 2012 Jun 20.

Development of pyridine-containing macrocyclic copper(II) complexes: potential role in the redox modulation of oxaliplatin toxicity in human breast cells.

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Research Institute for Medicines and Pharmaceutical Sciences (iMed.UL), Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal.


The unique redox and catalytic chemistry of Cu has justified the development of novel Cu complexes for different therapeutic uses including cancer therapy. In this work, four pyridine-containing aza-macrocyclic copper(II) complexes were prepared (CuL1-CuL4) varying in ring size and/or substituents and their superoxide scavenging activity evaluated. CuL3, the most active superoxide scavenger, was further studied as a modulator of the cytotoxicity of oxaliplatin in epithelial breast MCF10A cells and in MCF7 breast cancer cells. Our results show that CuL3 enhances the therapeutic window of oxaliplatin, by both protecting non-tumour cells and increasing its cytotoxic effect in breast carcinoma cells. CuL3 is thus a promising complex to be further studied and to be used as a lead compound for the optimization of novel chemotherapy sensitizers.

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