The bulk osteosarcoma and osteosarcoma stem cell activity of a necroptosis-inducing nickel(II)-phenanthroline complex.

We report the anti-osteosarcoma and anti-osteosarcoma stem cell (OSC) properties of a nickel(II) complex, 1. The nickel(II) complex, 1 displays similar potency towards bulk osteosarcoma cells and OSCs, in the micromolar range. Notably, 1 displays similar or better OSC potency than the clinically approved platinum(II) anticancer drugs, cisplatin and carboplatin, in two- and three-dimensional osteosarcoma cell cultures. Mechanistic studies revealed that 1 induces osteosarcoma cell death by necroptosis, an ordered form of necrosis. The nickel(II) complex, 1 triggers necrosome-dependent mitrochondrial membrane depolarisation and propidium iodide uptake. Interestingly, 1 does not evoke necroptosis by intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) elevation or poly ADP ribose polymerase (PARP-1) hyperactivation. ROS elevation and PARP-1 activity are traits that have been observed for established necroptosis-inducers such as shikinon, TRAIL, and glutamate. Thus the necroptosis pathway evoked by 1 is distinct. To the best of our awareness this is the first report into the anti-osteosarcoma and anti-OSC properties of a nickel complex.