An intramolecular photoswitch can significantly promote photoactivation of Pt(iv) prodrugs

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

12 Scopus Citations
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6536-6542
Number of pages7
Journal / PublicationChemical Science
Issue number19
Online published1 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - 21 May 2021



Selective activation of prodrugs at diseased tissue through bioorthogonal catalysis represents an attractive strategy for precision cancer treatment. Achieving efficient prodrug photoactivation in cancer cells, however, remains challenging. Herein, we report two Pt(IV) complexes, designated as rhodaplatins {rhodaplatin 1, [Pt(CBDCA-O,O′)(NH3)2(RhB)OH]; rhodaplatin 2, [Pt(DACH)ox(RhB)(OH)], where CBDCA is cyclobutane-1,1-dicarboxylate, RhB is rhodamine B, DACH is (1R,2R)-1,2-diaminocyclohexane, and ox is oxalate}, that bear an internal photoswitch to realize efficient accumulation, significant co-localization, and subsequent effective photoactivation in cancer cells. Compared with the conventional platform of “external photocatalyst plus substrate”, rhodaplatins presented up to 4.8 × 104-fold increased photoconversion efficiency in converting inert Pt(IV) prodrugs to active Pt(II) species under physiological conditions, due to the increased proximity and covalent bond between the photoswitch and Pt(IV) substrate. As a result, rhodaplatins displayed increased photocytotoxicity compared with a mixture of RhB and conventional Pt(IV) compound in cancer cells including Pt-resistant ones. Intriguingly, rhodaplatin 2 efficiently accumulated in the mitochondria and induced apoptosis without causing genomic DNA damage to overcome drug resistance. This work presents a new approach to develop highly effective prodrugs containing intramolecular photoswitches for potential medical applications.

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