Advances in cobalt complexes as anticancer agents
The evolution of resistance to traditional platinum-based anticancer drugs has compelled researchers to investigate the cytostatic properties of alternative transition metal-based compounds. The anticancer potential of cobalt complexes has been extensively studied over the last three decades, and much time has been devoted to understanding their mechanisms of action. This perspective catalogues the development of antiproliferative cobalt complexes, and provides an in depth analysis of their mode of action. Early studies on simple cobalt coordination complexes, Schiff base complexes, and cobalt–carbonyl clusters will be documented. The physiologically relevant redox properties of cobalt will be highlighted and the role this plays in the preparation of hypoxia selective prodrugs and imaging agents will be discussed. The use of cobalt-containing cobalamin as a cancer specific delivery agent for cytotoxins will also be described. The work summarised in this perspective shows that the biochemical and biophysical properties of cobalt-containing compounds can be fine-tuned to produce new generations of anticancer agents with clinically relevant efficacies.