Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Public Health

Major Professor

Heidi Kay, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Boo Kwa, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Ann DeBaldo, Ph.D.


Cisplatin, resistance, STAT, nitric oxide, angiogenesis


Many types of chemotherapeutic agents have been developed to target specific mechanisms within the body that control the progression of cancer, though few have been able to circumvent the existing problems associated with the treatments. The current remedies entail grueling drug regimens and toxic side effects that may undermine the effectiveness of the drugs. Cisplatin, a common nitroplatinum(II) drug widely used to treat a variety of cancers, is administered intravenously and circulates systemically, affecting healthy regions of the body as well. Resistance to cisplatin is increasing and the need for new, less toxic medication must be met for future success in cancer therapy. Our lab has synthesized novel nitroplatinum(IV) cisplatin complexes (PH1-14) that may evade these problems. We examined the effects of these compounds on cell viability, as well as effects on cancer-specific mechanisms such as nitric oxide (NO) production, angiogenesis, and the STAT signaling pathways. In vitro studies demonstrated that PH1-11 and PH14 demonstrated greater efficacy at inhibiting cell proliferation with lower IC50 values that ranged from 41-58 uM (as compared with cisplatin IC50 = 66 uM). Data from NO assays were inconclusive, though there was elevated expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase in cells treated with PH3 and PH11. We also found that PH9 was able to inhibit STAT dimerization at concentrations as low as 0.3 uM. PH9 also decreased VEGF and HIF-1α expression, thereby inhibiting angiogenesis. The activity of the PH complexes was also studied in C57BL/6 mice inoculated with murine bladder MB49 tumors. The experimental group showed significantly slower tumorigenesis and smaller tumors as compared with the control group. Toxicological analyses of the blood via metabolic assays showed that no nephrotoxicity was observed in dosages of less than 7 mg drug/kg. We conclude from these results the potential for the use of novel mechanisms in the treatment of cancers. This work will guide future investigations of these drugs in further preclinical trials and also introduce an alternative to the traditional chemotherapeutic agents.