Mitochondrion-targeted platinum complexes suppressing lung cancer through multiple pathways involving energy metabolism
Mitochondria are potential therapeutic targets for anticancer drugs. A series of mitochondrion-targeted monofunctional platinum complexes, [Pt(ortho-PPh3CH2Py)(NH3)2Cl](NO3)2 (OPT), [Pt(meta-PPh3CH2Py)(NH3)2Cl](NO3)2 (MPT), and [Pt(para-PPh3CH2Py)(NH3)2Cl](NO3)2 (PPT) (PPh3 = triphenylphosphonium, Py = pyridine), are studied in this article. The antitumor activity and mechanism of action have been investigated in vitro and in vivo as well as on molecular levels. OPT exhibits higher efficacy than cisplatin against A549 lung cancer cells; furthermore, it shows a strong inhibition towards the growth of non-small-cell lung cancer in nude mice. The DNA binding ability of these complexes follows an order of PPT > OPT > MPT. Cellular uptake and distribution studies show that OPT accumulates mainly in mitochondria, while MPT and PPT accumulate more preferentially in nuclei than in mitochondria. As a result, OPT induces remarkable changes in the ultrastructure and membrane of mitochondria, leading to more radical mitochondrial dysfunctions than cisplatin. The release of cytochrome c from mitochondria is more evident for cells treated with OPT than with cisplatin, though the apoptosis of A549 cells induced by OPT is similar to that induced by cisplatin. Disruption to mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation and glycolysis is involved in the antitumor mechanism of these compounds. The results indicate that in addition to DNA binding, bioenergetic pathways also play crucial roles in the antitumor activity of mitochondrion-targeted monofunctional platinum complexes.