Designing ruthenium anticancer drugs: what have we learnt from the key drug candidates?

James Coverdale, Thaisa Laroiya-McCarron, Isolda Romero-Canelón

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)
263 Downloads (Pure)


After nearly 20 years of research on the use of ruthenium in the fight against cancer, only two Ru(III) coordination complexes have advanced to clinical trials. During this time, the field has produced excellent candidate drugs with outstanding in vivo and in vitro activity; however, we have yet to find a ruthenium complex that would be a viable alternative to platinum drugs currently used in the clinic. We aimed to explore what we have learned from the most prominent complexes in the area, and to challenge new concepts in chemical design. Particularly relevant are studies involving NKP1339, NAMI-A, RM175, and RAPTA-C, which have paved the way for current research. We explored the development of the ruthenium anticancer field considering that the mechanism of action of complexes no longer focuses solely on DNA interactions, but explores a diverse range of cellular targets involving multiple chemical strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number31
Number of pages15
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019


  • ruthenium
  • anticancer
  • metal complex
  • Ruthenium
  • Metal complex
  • Anticancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Inorganic Chemistry


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