College of Science and Health Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Fall 11-23-2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Talitha Rajah, PhD

Second Advisor

John Dean, PhD

Third Advisor

Kyle Grice, PhD


Breast cancer is a common disease that affects both women and men all over the world. Triple negative breast cancer is an aggressive subtype of breast cancer with poor survival statistics and few available treatment options. Uncontrolled cell proliferation and the ability to avoid programmed cell death, apoptosis, are two shared hallmarks of cancers. Previous research has shown a group of heterocyclic molecules called triaminopyrimidines, not tested in this study, may be effective antiproliferative agents. Previous research has also shown that some gold(I) complexes not tested in this study, may be promising anticancer agents. In this study, a few chemicals from both of these types of molecules were examined for their effect in the triple negative breast cancer cell line, MDA-MB-231. To our knowledge, none of the chemicals examined in this study were previously tested for their effects on cancer. Four triaminopyrimidine derivative compounds and four gold(I) chloride compounds were tested in this study for their ability to inhibit cell proliferation as well their ability to induce apoptosis. The method used in this thesis to assess cell proliferation include the 3-[4,5-dimethyl-2-thiazolyl]-2,5-diphenyl-2H-tetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay. Staining with acridine orange and propidium iodide was performed in order to assess the induction of cellular apoptosis. Statistical analysis was performed by Student’s t-test to determine whether a compound caused significant inhibition of cellular proliferation or induction of cellular apoptosis. Probit analysis was used to calculate IC50 values for each compound. Results show that one or more of the triaminopyrimidine compounds as well as gold (I) chloride compounds significantly inhibit MDA-MB-231 cellular proliferation. These select compounds also exhibit the ability to induce apoptosis in the MDA-MB-231 cell line. Future studies will need to be carried out to determine possible mechanisms of action for these effects.

SLP Collection


Included in

Biology Commons