Metal-Based Chemotherapy Drugs

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Kaitlyn Kasemodel
Katarzyna Roberts


Metal-based compounds have been used to treat disease since as early as the 5th and4th century B.C. Cisplatin, a platinum-based chemotherapy drug, was one of the first metal-basedcompounds found to treat cancer. Other platinum drugs such as oxaliplatin and carboplatin havebeen the backbone of metal-based cancer treatment drugs as well. The potential therapeutic benefitsof metal complexes, in particular, transition metals, has gained attention due to exhibiting uniquecharacteristics including their capability to go through a redox reaction. Due to limitations like drugresistance and worsening side effects, ruthenium compounds have been developed that caused lesssevere and fewer side effects. Copper complexes have been found to exhibit cytotoxic propertieswith distinct mechanisms of actions and even have the ability to competitively bind to sites occupiedby different metals. It has been suggested that gold complexes have the potential to possess antitumorproperties if cisplatin cannot be used as a form of treatment. Silver complexes are another potentialtype of chemotherapeutic drug, found to exhibit greater selectivity against cancer cells and displaybetter cytotoxic action than cisplatin with comparably low toxicity. The potential for metal-basedchemotherapy drugs is continually expanding, and more research should be carried out in order tolearn all of the benefits these unique drugs have to offer the world.

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