The interaction of the diorgano- and triorganotin(IV) derivatives of meso-tetra-(4-sulfonatophenyl)porphine (Me2Sn)(2)TPPS, (Bu2Sn)(2)TPPS, (Me3Sn)(4)TPPS and (Bu3Sn)(4)TPPS to natural DNA was analysed (together with free meso-tetra-(4-sulfonatophenyl)porphine (TPPS4-) for comparison purposes). Particular attention was paid to (Bu3Sn)4TPPS, a species that shows significant cellular action. Preliminary tests were done on the solution properties of the organotin(IV) compounds (pK(A) and possible self-aggregation). Spectrophotometric and spectrofluorometric experiments showed that all the investigated organotin(IV) derivatives strongly interact with DNA, the binding energy depending on the dye steric hindrance. In all cases experimental data concur in indicating that external binding mode prevails. Interestingly, fluorescence quenching and viscosity experiments show that the Bu-containing species, and in particular (Bu3Sn)(4)TPPS, are able to noticeably alter the DNA conformation. (C) 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.