Cancer Stem Cell and Bulk Cancer Cell Active Copper(II) Complexes with Vanillin Schiff Base Derivatives and Naproxen

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Abstract

Four copper(II) complexes, 1-4 containing regioisomeric vanillin Schiff base derivatives ((E)-5/4/3/2-methoxy-2-(((2-(methylthio)ethyl)imino)methyl)phenol) and the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), naproxen, were synthesised and characterised. All complexes effectively cleave DNA in cell-free systems, with 4 displaying the highest nuclease activity. DNA binding studies suggest that 4 binds to DNA via the grooves prior to inducing oxidative DNA cleavage. Three of the complexes (1, 3, and 4) indiscriminately kill cancer stem cell (CSC)-enriched cells (HMLER-shEcad) and bulk cancer cells (HMLER) at micromolar concentrations. The most effective complex, 4 also reduced the formation and size of mammospheres to a similar extent as salinomycin, a well-established CSC-potent agent. Mechanistic studies show that 4 is readily taken up by CSCs, elevates intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels, causes DNA damage, and induces caspase-dependent apoptosis. Furthermore, 4 inhibits cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) expression and causes COX-2-dependent CSC death. The advantage of 4 over bulk cancer cell- or CSC-selective agents is that it has the potential to remove whole tumor populations (bulk cancer cells and CSCs) with a single dose.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11366-11374
Number of pages9
JournalCHEMISTRY
Volume23
Issue number47
Early online date28 Jun 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Aug 2017

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