Palladacyclopentadienyl complexes bearing purine-based N-heterocyclic carbenes: A new class of promising antiproliferative agents against human ovarian cancer

Thomas Scattolin, Sonia Giust, Paola Bergamini, Isabella Caligiuri, Luciano Canovese, Nicola Demitri, Roberto Gambari, Ilaria Lampronti, Flavio Rizzolio, Fabiano Visentin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


A complete protocol for the synthesis of new palladacyclopentadienyl complexes with purine-based carbenes as supporting ligands is described. The new organometallic compounds were exhaustively characterized using NMR and infrared spectroscopies and elemental analysis. The single-crystal X-ray structure of complex 2b coordinating also a triphenylphosphine was resolved. Some of these complexes showed an antiproliferative activity comparable to or better than that of cisplatin on two human ovarian cancer lines: A2780 (cisplatin-sensitive) and A2780cis (cisplatin-resistant). Moreover, for complexes 2 and 3 (coordinating one purine-based N-heterocyclic carbene ligand and one phosphine) the cytotoxicity is associated with an evident induction of apoptosis. Finally, complexes 3, bearing one purine-based N-heterocyclic carbene ligand and one 1,3,5-triaza-7-phosphaadamantane, proved practically inactive on non-tumour fibroblast cells (MRC-5).

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere4902
Number of pages16
JournalApplied Organometallic Chemistry
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019



  • antiproliferative and pro-apoptotic activity
  • N-heterocyclic carbenes
  • ovarian cancer
  • palladacyclopentadienyl complexes
  • purine bases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Inorganic Chemistry

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