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cancerCancer therapyCancer treatmentCancroCopper complexesPhosphino complexes


These are phosphinic copper homoleptic complexes of the CuP2 type. In vitro trials have shown a significant antitumour effect against a large panel of tumour cell lines of human origin, some resistant to platinum-based or multidrug-type complexes. In vivo studies demonstrate its ability to reduce tumour growth with limited systemic toxicity.

Technical features

In cancer treatment, essential metals such as copper may be less toxic and better tolerated than non essential metals such as platinum due to the existence of physiological mechanisms that can regulate their levels and detoxify where/when needed.
Experimental results have shown that CuP2-type copper complexes (P = phosphinic ligand) are extremely effective in reducing tumour growth with minimal toxicity in both murine and xenograft cancer animal models. Studies have shown that the compounds are able to act selectively against cancer cells by inducing an alternative cell death mechanism to apoptosis, paraptosis, thereby succeeding in bypassing the phenomenon of chemoresistance.
Preclinical phases are underway.

Possible Applications

  • Drugs for cancer therapy.


  • Higher efficacy and lower toxicity of the copper complexes compared to platinum-based complexes in clinical use;
  • CuP2 is an active molecule that in aqueous/physiological medium is capable of selectively  transferring  copper within the tumour cell.