Elesclomol induces oxidative stress by provoking a buildup of reactive oxygen species within cancer cells. Elesclomol requires a redox active metal ion to function. The Cu(II) complex is 34 times more potent than the Ni(II) complex and 1040-fold more potent than the Pt(II) complex.
^Qu Y, Wang J, Sim MS, et al. (June 2010). "Elesclomol, counteracted by Akt survival signaling, enhances the apoptotic effect of chemotherapy drugs in breast cancer cells". Breast Cancer Res. Treat.121 (2): 311–21. doi:10.1007/s10549-009-0470-6. PMID19609669.
^Yadav AA, Patel D, Hasinoff BB (Sep 2013). "Molecular mechanisms of the biological activity of the anticancer drug elesclomol and its complexes with Cu(II), Ni(II) and Pt(II)". J Inorg Biochem126: 1–6. doi:10.1016/j.jinorgbio.2013.04.013. PMID23707906.