Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Pharmacology & Toxicology

First Advisor

Nicholas Farrell


Platinum-based chemotherapeutics are used for the treatment of a wide range of cancers and a number of attempts have been made toward developing compounds with better cellular stability and similar or enhanced cytotoxicity as compared to their predecessors. The first part of the work reported here focuses on the cellular effects of the metabolically stable dinuclear platinum compound, BBR3610-DACH. Comet assay showed this compound to form interstrand crosslinks, a highly toxic DNA lesion in HCT116 cells, at equimolar concentrations to its parental compound, BBR3610. Cell cycle studies showed that BBR3610-DACH causes G1/S and G2/M cell cycle arrest with S phase depletion, which was p21 dependent and partially p53 dependent in contrast to BBR3610 which showed initial S phase accumulation followed by a classical G2/M arrest. BBR3610-DACH-induced G1/S and G2/M cell cycle arrest interestingly was found to be independent of the DNA damage response mediated via the activation of ATM and ATR kinases. Also, the cell cycle arrest culminated in apoptosis, although apparently through a non-canonical pathway. The second project explores the cellular effects of trans-4-NBD which is a fluorescent derivative of transplatin. Like cisplatin, trans-4-NBD induced interstrand crosslinks in HCT116 cells as detected by the comet assay. Treatment with trans-4-NBD showed a G2/M arrest in HCT116 cells and a transient S phase accumulation in A2780 cells, with a marked increase in p53 and p21 protein levels. A robust apoptotic response is also seen via caspase activation and PARP cleavage in both the cell lines. Finally, the focus is shifted toward the nucleolar targeting platinum complex, TriplatinNC. Confocal studies in TriplatinNC-treated HCT116 and A2780 cells showed disruption of rRNA transcription as an early event followed by a robust G1 cell cycle arrest. Apoptotic induction was observed with the onset of cellular morphological changes and apparent caspase activation which was independent of the p53 status of the cells. Overall, these studies explore novel platinum based compounds that show promising anti-cancer activities by affecting various facets of cellular signaling.


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VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2013