JBIC Journal of Biological Inorganic Chemistry

, Volume 21, Issue 8, pp 931–944 | Cite as

Cytotoxic activity of expanded coordination bis-thiosemicarbazones and copper complexes thereof

  • Fady N. Akladios
  • Scott D. Andrew
  • Christopher J. Parkinson
Original Paper


A series of bis-thiosemicarbazone agents with coordinating groups capable of multiple metal coordination modes has been generated and evaluated for potential cytotoxic effects against melanoma (MelRm) and breast adenocarcinoma (MCF-7) cell lines. The bis-thiosemicarbazones in this study generally demonstrated superior cytotoxic activity against MelRm than MCF-7 in the absence of metal ion supplementation, but in most cases could not be considered superior to the reference thiosemicarbazone Dp44mT. The key structural features for the cytotoxic activity were the central metal binding atom on the aromatic core, the thiocarbonyl residue and the nature of substitution on the N4-terminus in terms of size and lipophilicity. The cytotoxicity of bis-thiosemicarbazone ligands improved significantly with Cu(II) supplementation, particularly against MCF-7 cells. The mechanism of cytotoxicity of bis-thiosemicarbazones was proposed to be dependent on the combined effect of metal mobilisation and ROS generation which is so called a “double-punch effect”.


Copper Cytotoxicity Reactive oxygen species (ROS) Bis-thiosemicarbazone (Bis-TSC) 



F. Akladios acknowledges the receipt of an Australian Postgraduate Award (APA). CJP wishes to thank the CSU Pharmacy Foundation for a grant partially funding this study. CJP and SDA thank the Kolling Institute (Royal North Shore Hospital) for the donation and characterization of the MCF-7 cell line employed in this study and Dr. N. Proschogo and Dr. I. Luck (University of Sydney) for the provision of mass spectrometry and NMR expertise. We thank Mr. T. Belshaw for providing the analysis of copper levels in growth media.


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Copyright information

© SBIC 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fady N. Akladios
    • 1
  • Scott D. Andrew
    • 1
  • Christopher J. Parkinson
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Biomedical SciencesCharles Sturt UniversityOrangeAustralia

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