Identification of novel and selective anticancer agents remains an important and challenging goal in pharmacological research. In search of new compounds with strong antiproliferative activity and simple molecular structure, we have synthesized three different series of compounds in which different substituents were linked to the 3-amino position of the 2-(3, 4, 5-trimethoxybenzoyl)-benzo[b]furan or benzo[b]thiophene ring system. These substituents, corresponding to acetyl/haloacetyl, α-bromoacryloyl and nitrooxyacetyl moieties had different electrophilic properties. The benzoheterocycle parent structures were selected because of their reported bioactivities. Compounds bearing a methoxy group at the 6-position of the benzo[b]furan skeleton, were identified as potent antiproliferative agents against the human chronic myelogenous K562 and murine L1210 leukemia cell lines. Comparison of positional isomers indicated that moving the methoxy group from the 6- to the 5- or 7-position yielded inactive compounds. The effects of a selected series of compounds on cell cycle progression correlated well with their strong antiproliferative activity and inhibition of tubulin polymerization. The analysis of structure-activity relationships observed in the series of compounds described here may represent a platform for the design of more active molecules.
Keywords: Benzo[b]thiophene, Benzo[b]furan, Tumor cell growth, Antiproliferative agents
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