Targeting Energy Metabolism by a Platinum(IV) Prodrug as an Alternative Pathway for Cancer Suppression

Inorg Chem. 2019 May 6;58(9):6507-6516. doi: 10.1021/acs.inorgchem.9b00708. Epub 2019 Apr 23.


Cancer is characterized by abnormal cellular energy metabolism, which preferentially switches to aerobic glycolysis rather than oxidative phosphorylation as a means of glucose metabolism. Many key enzymes involved in the abnormal glycolysis are potential targets of anticancer drugs. Platinum(IV) complexes are potential anticancer prodrugs and kinetically more inert than the platinum(II) counterparts, which offer an opportunity to be modified by functional ligands for activation or targeted delivery. A novel platinum(IV) complex, c, c, t-[Pt(NH3)2Cl2(C10H15N2O3S)(C2HO2Cl2)] (DPB), was designed to explore the effects of axial ligands on the reactivity and bioactivity of the complex as well as on tumor energy metabolism. The complex was characterized by electrospray ionization mass spectrometry and multinuclear (1H, 13C, and 195Pt) NMR spectroscopy. The introduction of dichloroacetate (DCA) markedly increases the lipophilicity, reactivity, and cytotoxicity of the complex and blocks the growth of cancer cells having active glycolysis, and the introduction of biotin (C10H16N2O3S) enhances the tumor-targeting potential of the complex. The cytotoxicity of DPB is increased dramatically in a variety of cancer cell lines as compared with the platinum(IV) complex PB without the DCA group. DPB alters the mitochondrial membrane potential and disrupts the mitochondrial morphology. The levels of mitochondrial and cellular reactive oxygen species are also decreased. Furthermore, the mitochondrial function of tumor cells was impaired by DPB, leading to the inhibition of both glycolysis and glucose oxidation and finally to the death of cancer cells via a mitochondria-mediated apoptotic pathway. These findings demonstrate that DPB suppresses cancer cells mainly through altering metabolic pathways and highlight the importance of dual-targeting for the efficacy of anticancer drugs.

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / chemistry*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Cell Cycle / drug effects
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Energy Metabolism / drug effects*
  • HCT116 Cells
  • HeLa Cells
  • Hep G2 Cells
  • Humans
  • Membrane Potential, Mitochondrial / drug effects
  • Mitochondria / drug effects
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Organoplatinum Compounds / chemistry*
  • Organoplatinum Compounds / pharmacology*
  • Prodrugs / chemistry*
  • Prodrugs / pharmacology*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Organoplatinum Compounds
  • Prodrugs