[(C^C)Au(N^N)]+ complexes as a new family of anticancer candidates: synthesis, characterization and exploration of the antiproliferative properties

Silva Khodjoyan, Edwyn Remadna, Héloïse Dossmann, Denis Lesage, Geoffrey Gontard, Jérémy Forté, Henrik Hoffmeister, Uttara Basu, Ingo Ott, Philip Spence, Zoe Waller, Michèle Salmain, Benoît Bertrand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
18 Downloads (Pure)


A library of eleven cationic gold(III) complexes of the general formula [(C^C)Au(N^N)] + when C^C is either biphenyl or 4,4’-ditertbutyldiphenyl and N^N is a bipyridine, phenanthroline or dipyridylamine derivative have been synthesized and characterized. Contrasting effects on the viability of the triple negative breast cancer cells MDA-MB-231 was observed from a preliminary screening. The antiproliferative activity of the seven most active complexes were further assayed on a larger panel of human cancer cells as well as on non-cancerous cells for comparison. Two complexes stood out for being either highly active or highly selective. Eventually, reactivity studies with biologically meaningful amino acids, glutathione, higher order DNA structures and thioredoxin reductase (TrxR) revealed a markedly different behavior from that of the well-known coordinatively isomeric [(C^N^C)Au(NHC)] + structure. This makes the [(C^C)Au(N^N)] + complexes a new class of organogold compounds with an original mode of action.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15773-15785
Number of pages13
JournalChemistry – A European Journal
Issue number63
Early online date26 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - 11 Nov 2021


  • bioorganometallics
  • biphenyl
  • cancer gold
  • chelates

Cite this