Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Chemistry and Pharmacology
Abstract The earliest reports on the therapeutic use of metals or metal-containing compounds in cancer and leukemia date from the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries. They were forgotten until the 1960s, when the antitumour activity of the inorganic complex cis-diammine-dichloroplatinum(II) (cisplatin) was discovered. This led to the development of other types of non-organic cytostatic drugs. Cisplatin has developed into one of the most frequently used and most effective cytostatic drugs for the treatment of solid carcinomas. Numerous other metal compounds containing platinum, other platinum metals, and even non-platinum metals were then shown to be effective against tumours in man and experimental tumours in animals. These compounds comprise main-group metallic compounds of gallium, germanium, tin, and bismuth, early-transition metal complexes of titanium, vanadium, niobium, molybdenum, and rhenium, and late-transition metal complexes of ruthenium, rhodium, iridium, platinum, copper, and gold. Several platinum complexes and four non-platinum-metal antitumour agents have so far entered early clinical trials. Gallium trinitrate and spirogermanium have already passed phase II clinical studies and have shown limited cytostatic activity against certain human carcinomas and lymphomas. The two early-transition metal complexes budotitane and titanocene dichloride have just reached the end of phase I clinical trials and have been found to have an unusual pattern of organ toxicity in man. Titanocene dichloride will soon enter phase II clinical studies.
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