Cell cycle arrest in cultured neuroblastoma cells exposed to a bis(thiosemicarbazonato) metal complex

Laura Bica, Jodi Meyerowitz, Sarah J. Parker, Aphrodite Caragounis, Tai Du, Brett M. Paterson, Kevin J. Barnham, Peter J. Crouch, Anthony R. White, Paul S. Donnelly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Brain tumors such as neuroblastomas and gliomas are often refractory to current treatments. Development of metal-based drugs may offer an alternative approach due to the ability to deliver radionuclides or cytotoxic metals to the tumor. Previous studies have shown that diacetyl-bis(N(4)- methylthiosemicarbazonato)-copper(II) (CuII(atsm)) can selectively target hypoxic tumors and this feature has been utilized for development of imaging and radiotherapy. However, we have recently shown that glyoxal-bis(N(4)-methylthiosemicarbazonato)-copper(II) (CuII(gtsm)) can target the brain in animal models of neurodegeneration. Unlike Cu II(atsm), CuII(gtsm) is able to release Cu intracellularly under normoxic conditions. Glyoxal-bis(thiosemicarbazones) have reported anticancer effects but little is known about the cellular mechanisms involved. Therefore, in this study, we used protein microarray analysis to investigate the effect of CuII(gtsm) on neuroblastoma cell growth in vitro. Treatment of the human neuroblastoma cell line BE(2)-M17, resulted in cell cycle arrest as assessed by fluorescent activated cell sorting (FACS) analysis. Rapidly arrested growth was not associated with onset of apoptosis. Instead, protein microarray analysis revealed that CuII(gtsm) rapidly and potently reduced cyclin D1 expression, while increasing Kip2 expression. Other changes observed were decreased Cdk7 expression and activation of CHK2. These changes may be associated with the cell cycle arrest. We also observed a potent decrease of total and phosphorylated insulin-like growth factor receptor (IGF-IR) by CuII(gtsm) which is associated with modulation of cyclin D1 expression. Our studies reveal important insights into the potential anticancer activity of CuII(gtsm). Further studies are needed to examine the therapeutic potential of CuII(gtsm) and other bis(thiosemicarbazonato) metal complexes as metallo-drugs for treatment of systemic or brain tumors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-133
Number of pages17
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Bis(thiosemicarbazone)
  • Cell cycle
  • Copper
  • Protein microarray

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