Two non-commercial metallic Au-based complexes were tested against one of the most aggressive malignant melanomas of the skin (MeWo cells), through cell viability and time-lapse live-cell imaging system assays. The tests with the complexes were carried out both in the form of free metallic complexes, directly in contact with the MeWo cell line culture, and embedded in fibers of Polycaprolactone (PCL) membranes produced by the electrospinning technique. Membranes functionalized with complexes were prepared to evaluate the efficiency of the membranes against the melanoma cells and therefore their feasibility in the application as an antitumoral patch for topical use. Both series of tests highlighted a very effective antitumoral activity, manifesting a very relevant cell viability inhibition after both 24 h and 48 h. In the case of the AuM1 complex at the concentration of 20 mM, melanoma cells completely died in this short period of time. A mortality of around 70% was detected from the tests performed using the membranes functionalized with AuM1 complex at a very low concentration (3 wt.%), even after 24 h of the contact period. The synthesized complexes also manifest high selectivity with respect to the MeWo cells. The peculiar structural and morphological organization of the nanofibers constituting the membranes allows for a very effective antitumoral activity in the first 3 h of treatment. Experimental points of the release profiles were perfectly fitted with theoretical curves, which easily allow interpretation of the kinetic phenomena occurring in the release of the synthesized complexes in the chosen medium.
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