Ruthenium complexes capable of light‐triggered cytotoxicity are appealing potential prodrugs for photodynamic therapy (PDT) and photoactivated chemotherapy (PACT). Two groups of (polypyridyl)RuII complexes with 2‐(2‐pyridyl)benzazole ligands were synthesized and investigated for their photochemical properties and anticancer activity to compare strained and unstrained systems that are likely to have different biological mechanisms of action. The structure–activity relationship was focused on the benzazole‐core bioisosterism and replacement of coligands in RuII complexes. Strained compounds rapidly ejected the 2‐(2‐pyridyl)benzazole ligand after light irradiation, and possessed strong toxicity in the HL‐60 cell line both under dark and light conditions. In contrast, unstrained RuII complexes were nontoxic in the absence of light, induced cytotoxicity at nanomolar concentrations after light irradiation, and were capable of light‐induced DNA damage. The 90–220‐fold difference in light and dark IC50 values provides a large potential therapeutic window to allow for selective targeting of cells by exposure to light.

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Published in European Journal of Inorganic Chemistry, v. 2017, issue 12, p. 1687-1694.

© 2017 WILEY‐VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim

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This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Havrylyuk, D., Heidary, D. K., Nease, L., Parkin, S., & Glazer E. C. (2017). Photochemical properties and structure–activity relationships of ruII complexes with pyridylbenzazole figands as promising anticancer agents. European Journal of Inorganic Chemistry, 2017(12), 1687-1694, which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1002/ejic.201601450. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.

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This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health (5R01GM107586). The X8 Proteum was funded by the NSF (MRI CHE-0319176).

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CCDC 1532115 (for 6), 1532116 (for 7), 1532117 (for 8) contain the supplementary crystallographic data for this paper. These data can be obtained free of charge from The Cambridge Crystallographic Data Centre.

Supplementary information is available in the online version of the paper.

ejic201601450-sup-0001-supmat.pdf (3205 kB)
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