Straightforward synthetic route to gold(i)-thiolato glycoconjugate complexes bearing NHC ligands (NHC = N-heterocyclic carbene) and their promising anticancer activity†
A simple and eco-friendly route to gold–NHC complexes bearing different thiosugars is reported. The reaction between [Au(NHC)Cl] precursors, the thiosugars and a weak base proceeds under air using technical grade acetone under mild conditions (60 °C, 1 h). The one-pot synthesis of the same complexes starting from the corresponding imidazolium salts was also investigated. The obtained complexes showed strong cytotoxic activities against selected cancer cell lines with IC50 values in the submicromolar to low micromolar concentration range.