Apoptosis-inducing ability of silver(I) cyanide-phosphines useful for anti-cancer studies

Zelinda Human-Engelbrecht, Reinout Meijboom, Marianne J. Cronjé

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Metal-based drugs have shown early promise as anticancer agents suggesting the potential application of silver(I) complexes as apoptosis-inducing agents. The ability of a silver(I) cyanide containing phosphine complex to induce cell death was evaluated in both a malignant (SNO esophageal cancer) and non-malignant (HDF-a skin and HEK293 kidney) cell lines. A dose-dependent decrease in cell viability was observed in the SNO cells. Light microscopy revealed morphological features indicative of apoptotic cell death. The mode of cell death was confirmed as apoptosis by phosphatidylserine externalization, DNA fragmentation and nuclear condensation. Furthermore, both the non-malignant cell lines showed morphological features indicative of apoptosis when exposed to complex 1. We propose the use of this silver(I) cyanide phosphine complex as an highly effective positive apoptosis control for use in anticancer studies of phosphine complexes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)591-600
Number of pages10
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017


  • Anticancer
  • Apoptosis
  • Cyanide containing complex
  • Malignant cells
  • Silver(I) phosphine complex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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