Affiliation: Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Pharmacy, Medical University, 2 Dunav St., Sofia 1000, Bulgaria.
The application of inorganic chemistry to medicine is a rapidly developing field, and novel therapeutic and diagnostic metals and metal complexes are now having an impact on medical practice. Advances in biocoordination chemistry are crucial for improving the design of compounds to reduce toxic side effects and understand their mechanisms of action. A lot of metal-based drugs are widely used in the treatment of cancer. The clinical success of cisplatin and other platinum complexes is limited by significant side effects acquired or intrinsic resistance. Therefore, much attention has focused on designing new coordination compounds with improved pharmacological properties and a broader range of antitumor activity. Strategies for developing new anticancer agents include the incorporation of carrier groups that can target tumor cells with high specificity. Also of interest is to develop complexes that bind to DNA in a fundamentally different manner than cisplatin, in an attempt to overcome the resistance pathways that have evolved to eliminate the drug. This review focuses on recent advances in developing lanthanide anticancer agents with an emphasis on lanthanide coordination complexes. These complexes may provide a broader spectrum of antitumor activity. They were compared with classical platinum anticancer drugs. Lanthanides are also of interest because of their therapeutic radioisotopes. The dominant pharmacological applications of lanthanides are as agents in radioimmunotherapy and photodynamic therapy.