Phototherapeutic anticancer strategies with first-row transition metal complexes: a critical review
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) and photoactivated chemotherapy (PACT) are therapeutic techniques based on a photosensitizer (PS) and light. These techniques allow the spatial and temporal control of the activation of drugs with light. Transition metal complexes are attractive compounds as photoactivatable prodrugs since their excited states can be appropriately designed by subtle modifications of the ligands, the metal centre, or the oxidation state. However, most metal-based PSs contain heavy metals such as Ru, Os, Ir, Pt or Au, which are expensive and non-earth-abundant, contrary to first-row transition metals. In this context, the exploration of the photochemical properties of complexes based on first-row transition metals appears to be extremely promising. This did encourage several groups to develop promising PSs based on these metals. This review presents up-to-date state-of-the-art information on first-row-transition metal complexes, from titanium to zinc in regard to their application as PSs for phototherapeutic applications.