Polymeric micelle-mediated delivery of half-sandwich ruthenium(II) complexes with phosphanes derived from fluoroloquinolones for lung adenocarcinoma treatment

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Graphical abstractHighlightsHalf-sandwich Ru(II) complexes with phosphanes derived from fluoroloquinolones are synthesized.Half-sandwich Ru(II) complexes intercalate with DNA not causing conformation changes.Half-sandwich Ru(II) complexes cause cleavage of a single DNA strand.Polymeric micelles loaded with Ru(II) complexes enable efficient complex accumulation inside cancer cells.Polymeric micelles loaded with Ru(II) complexes exhibit promising anticancer activity in vitro.Novel half-sandwich ruthenium(II) complexes with aminomethyl(diphenyl)phosphine derived from fluoroloquinolones (RuPCp, RuPSf, RuPLm, RuPNr) were being investigated as alternatives to well-established metal-based chemotherapeutics. All compounds were characterized by elemental analysis, selected spectroscopic methods (i.e., absorption and fluorescence spectroscopies, ESI-MS, NMR, circular dichroizm), X-ray diffractometry, ICP-MS, and electrochemical techniques. To overcome low solubility, serious side effects connected with systemic cytotoxicity of ruthenium complexes, and acquiring the resistance of cancer cells, polymeric nanoformulations based on Pluronic P-123 micelles loaded with selected Ru(II) complexes were prepared and characterized. Resulting micelles (RuPCp_M, RuPNr_M) enabled efficient drug accumulation inside human lung adenocarcinoma (A549 tumor cell line), proved by confocal microscopy and ICP-MS analysis, allowing cytotoxic action. Studied complexes exhibited promising cytotoxicity in vitro with IC50 values significantly lower than the reference drug – cisplatin. The fluorescence spectroscopic data (CT-DNA titration, in vitro cell staining) together with analysis of DNA fragmentation (pBR322 plasmid, comet assay) provided clear evidence for the interaction with DNA inducing apoptotic cell death.

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