Insights into molecular mechanism of action of salan titanium(IV) complex with in vitro and in vivo anticancer activity

Maya Miller, Ori Braitbard, Jacob Hochman*, Edit Y. Tshuva

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Titanium compounds, in particular, Ti(IV) based diaminobis(phenolato) “salan” complexes demonstrate high cytotoxicity towards a wide range of cancer cell lines in vitro, and still, very little is known on their mode of action. A representative salan Ti(IV) complex was tested both in vitro and in vivo on human HT-29 colorectal adenocarcinoma and A2780 ovarian carcinoma cells. Both cell lines were sensitive in vitro with A2780 demonstrating an enhanced rate of uptake and intracellular accumulation and thus an earlier response to the drug. HT-29 cells responded in vivo by impaired tumor development in nude mice. Both cell lines responded in vitro (but to a different extent) by upregulation of p53 with no apparent effect on p21 followed by cell cycle arrest, apoptosis and necrosis as demonstrated by sub-G1 cell accumulation and staining by Annexin-V and propidium iodide. Furthermore, time dependent activation of cysteine-aspartic proteases9 (caspase9) as well as some minor activation of cysteine-aspartic proteases3 (caspase3) support a direct effect on the apoptotic pathway. The differential response of the two cell lines to the salan titanium(IV) complex suggests that more than one pathway is involved in their growth regulation and thus could inhibit development of drug resistant variants.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)250-257
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Inorganic Biochemistry
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier Inc.


  • Apoptosis
  • Cell cycle
  • Cisplatin
  • Cytotoxicity mechanism
  • In vivo
  • Metallodrugs


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