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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Alan R. Eastman, PhD (Dartmouth Medical School)
Description: This book represents the first in a series of thematic reviews in Topics in Biological Inorganic Chemistry sponsored by the Society of Biological Inorganic Chemistry.
Purpose: This volume focuses on metal-containing compounds in cancer therapeutics with particular emphasis on cisplatin and other platinum derivatives.
Audience: The book is intended to provide bioinorganic chemists, molecular biologists, and oncologists with fresh insights into transition metals as chemotherapeutic agents. In this regard, this is an excellent review of the synthesis and testing of many established and potential drugs, as well as the chemical structures of DNA reaction products. However, the reviews are somewhat lacking with regard to the molecular mechanisms of actions of these agents, and in discussing results of recent clinical trials. The editors are highly respected, long-time contributors to the field.
Features: The book begins with an extensive review of cisplatin, its interaction with DNA, and a discussion of the proteins that bind these lesions. Subsequent reviews address the search for orally active platinum compounds, the unexpected observation that certain trans-platinum analogs may be cytotoxic, and the consequences of combining two or more platinum atoms in a single molecule to cross-link DNA over long distances. Other reviews address the use of ruthenium complexes and other non-platinum drugs. All the reviews are very well written using short sections that are easy to follow, and the text is generously complemented with structures and figures.
Assessment: This book represents an excellent introduction to the most exciting metal complexes currently in or approaching clinical use. Another volume, Lippert's 30 Years of Cisplatin: Chemistry and Biochemistry of a Leading Anticancer Drug (John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., 1999), published almost concurrently, contains a more comprehensive discussion of platinum complexes in cancer chemotherapy, but for the non-expert in this field, the current reviews are far less intimidating and should encourage bioinorganic chemists by showing them the successes of their synthetic endeavors.