Cyclic (Alkyl)(Amino)Carbene (CAAC) Gold(I) Complexes as Chemotherapeutic Agents

Maria T. Proetto, Kelsey Alexander, Mohand Melaimi*, Guy Bertrand*, Nathan C. Gianneschi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Cyclic (Alkyl)(Amino)Carbenes (CAACs) have become forceful ligands for gold due to their ability to form very strong ligand-metal bonds. Inspired by the success of Auranofin and other gold complexes as antitumor agents, we have studied the cytotoxicity of bis- and mono-CAAC-gold complexes on different cancer cell lines: HeLa (cervical cancer), A549 (lung cancer), HT1080 (fibrosarcoma) and Caov-3 (ovarian cancer). Further investigations aimed at elucidating their mechanism of action are described. This includes quantification of affinities for TrxR, evaluation of their bioavailability and determination of associated cell death process. Moreover, Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) was used to study morphological changes upon exposure. Noticeably, a significant reduction in non-specific binding to serum proteins was observed with CAAC complexes when compared to Auranofin. These results confirm the potential of CAAC-gold complexes in biological environments, which may result in more specific drug-target interactions and decreased side effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3772-3778
Number of pages7
JournalChemistry - A European Journal
Issue number11
StatePublished - Feb 19 2021


  • CAACs
  • TrxR
  • antitumoral agents
  • cancer
  • transmission electron microscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Organic Chemistry


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