The interactions of the steroidal and nonsteroidal estrogen-platinum (Pt) (II)-based anticancer drugs 16beta-hydroxymethyl-16alpha-[8-(2-pyridin-2-yl-ethylamino)-3,6-dioxaoctyl]-1,3,5(10)-estratrien-3,17betadiol dichloroplatinum (II) (JPM-39), 4-[6-(2'-pyridylethylamino)-butyloxy)-phenyl]-7-methoxy-2,2-dimethyl-3-phenyl-chroman dichloroplatinum (II) (ATG-99), and 1-[(2-aminoethyl)amino]-9,10,10-tris(4-hydroxyphenyl)-9-decene dichloroplatinum (II) (GEB-28) with calf-thymus DNA in vitro using constant DNA concentration and various drug levels were studied. Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) and circular dichroism (CD) were studied with calf-thymus DNA in vitro using constant DNA concentration and various drug levels. FTIR, UV-visible, and CD spectroscopic methods were used to characterize the drug binding mode, the binding constant, and structural variations of DNA in aqueous solution. Spectroscopic evidence showed that the various Pt-based drugs bind indirectly to the major and minor grooves of DNA duplex with some degree of drug-phosphate interaction. The overall binding constants for JPM-39, GEB-28, and ATG-99 are K(JPM-39) = 4.2 (+/-0.75) x 10(3) M(-1), K(GEB-28) = 3.4 (+/-0.65) x 10(3) M(-1), and K(ATG-99) = 2.1 (+/-0.45) x 10(3) M(-1). DNA aggregation occurs at high drug concentration, while DNA remains in the B-family structure.