The compound cis-diamminedichloroplatinum(II) (cisplatin) is the most widely used anticancer drug, but due to its serious side effects (including gastrointestinal symptoms, renal tubular injury, neuromuscular complications, and ototoxicity), clinical applications of cisplatin are limited. Therefore, these limitations have provided an encouragement for further research into other transition metal complexes, with an aim to overcome the disadvantages related with cisplatin therapy. In the search for effective complexes that can be targeted against tumor cells, many research groups synthesized various ruthenium( II) complexes with different ligands. Also, newly synthesized ruthenium(II) complexes showed selective anticancer activity against different types of cancer cells. Activity of ruthenium(II) complexes in some cases was even higher than that of cisplatin against the same cells. Precise mechanism of action of ruthenium(II) complexes is not fully understood. The different examples mentioned in this review showed that ruthenium(II) complexes decreased viability of cancer cells by induction of apoptosis and/or by cell cycle arrest which implies their different mechanism of action against different types of cancer cells.
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