Anti-tumor activity evaluation of novel chrysin-organogermanium(IV) complex in MCF-7 cells

Bioorg Med Chem Lett. 2013 Oct 15;23(20):5544-51. doi: 10.1016/j.bmcl.2013.08.055. Epub 2013 Aug 19.


Chrysin (5,7-dihydroxylflavone, Chry) is a natural product extracted from plants, honey, and propolis. In this work, a novel chrysin-organogermanium(IV) complex (Chry-Ge) with enhanced anticancer activities was synthesized, and its potential anticancer effects against cancer cells were measured using various methods. MTT results showed that Chry-Ge had significant inhibition effects on the proliferation of MCF-7, HepG2 and Colo205 human cancer cell lines in a dose-dependent manner while had little cytotoxic effects on MCF-10A human normal cells (MCF-10A cells) with the same treatment of Chry-Ge. These results suggested that Chry-Ge possessed enhanced anticancer effects and high selectivity between cancer cells and normal cells. The immuno-staining results showed that the nuclei of MCF-7 cells represented a total fragmented morphology and a disorganized cytoskeletal network in MCF-7 cells after Chry-Ge treatment. Besides, atomic force microscopy (AFM) was applied to detect the changes of ultrastructural and biomechanical properties of MCF-7 cellular membrane induced by Chry-Ge. The AFM data indicated that Chry-Ge treatment directly caused the decrease of cell rigidity and adhesion force of MCF-7 cells, suggesting that membrane toxicity might be one of the targets for Chry-Ge in MCF-7 cells. Moreover, the fluorescence-based flow cytometric analysis demonstrated that Chry-Ge could induce apoptosis in MCF-7 cells in ROS-dependent mitochondrial pathway. All results collectively showed that Chry-Ge could be as a promising anticancer drug for cancer therapy.

Keywords: Atomic force microscopy (AFM); Chrysin; Chry–Ge; MCF-7.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / chemical synthesis
  • Antineoplastic Agents / chemistry*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / toxicity
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Caspases / metabolism
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Coordination Complexes / chemical synthesis
  • Coordination Complexes / chemistry*
  • Coordination Complexes / toxicity
  • Flavonoids / chemistry*
  • G2 Phase Cell Cycle Checkpoints / drug effects
  • Germanium / chemistry*
  • Hep G2 Cells
  • Humans
  • MCF-7 Cells
  • Matrix Metalloproteinases / metabolism
  • Microscopy, Atomic Force
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Coordination Complexes
  • Flavonoids
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Germanium
  • chrysin
  • Caspases
  • Matrix Metalloproteinases