Water soluble arene-functionalised trithiolato-bridged ruthenium complexes of general formula [(eta(6)-C6H5OCH2CH2OH)(2)Ru-2(mu-SR)(3)](+), where R = C6H5 (1), C6H4-p-OMe (2), C6H4-p-OMe (3), C6H4-p-Pr-i (4), C6H4-p-Bu-t (5), CH2C6H5 (6), CH2CH2C6H5 (7) and CH2C6H4-p-Bu-t (8), were prepared from the reaction of [(eta(6)-C6H5OCH2CH2OH)(2)Ru-2(mu-Cl)(2)Cl-2] with the corresponding thiol, RSH. Complexes [1] Cl-[8]Cl were isolated in good yields as their chloride salts and they were fully characterised using spectroscopic and analytical techniques and the structures of [1]Cl, [3]Cl and [4]Cl were determined in the solid-state by single-crystal X-ray diffraction. The antiproliferative activity of [1]Cl-[8]Cl was evaluated against human ovarian cancer (A2780, A2780cisR) and non-cancerous (HEK293) cells with [4]Cl and [5]Cl being more active than cisplatin on the cancer cells and also more selective. (C) 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.