A Cancer Cell-Selective and Low-Toxic Bifunctional Heterodinuclear Pt(IV)–Ru(II) Anticancer Prodrug

Although different types of metal-based anticancer complexes have been synthesized, novel complexes to reduce the serious side effect of cisplatin and conquer cancer metastasis are still highly desired. Here, we report the synthesis, characterization, and biological activity of a novel heterodinuclear Pt­(IV)–Ru­(II) anticancer prodrug. The Pt­(IV)–Ru­(II) complex exhibits good stability in both water and PBS solution. Biological evaluation revealed that this bifunctional Pt­(IV)–Ru­(II) complex utilizes the advantages of two metal centers to have both cytotoxicity and antimetastatic property as designed. Although the complex has comparable cytotoxicities to cisplatin in tested cancer cell lines, this prodrug selectively kills cancer but not normal cells, and the IC<sub>50</sub> values of the Pt­(IV)–Ru­(II) complex are 7–10 times higher than those of cisplatin toward normal cells. The cancer cell selectivity is further demonstrated by a cancer–normal cell coculture system. In addition, the antimetastatic properties of the heterodinuclear complex are assessed by using highly metastatic human breast cancer cells, and the results show that the migration and invasion of cancer cells are effectively restrained after the treatment. Moreover, the Pt­(IV)–Ru­(II) complex displays lower toxicity than cisplatin in developing zebrafish embryos. We, therefore, report an example of heterodinuclear Pt­(IV)–Ru­(II) complex not only to defeat both drug resistance and cancer metastasis but also having significantly improved cancer cell selectivity and reduced <i>in vivo</i> toxicity than cisplatin.