Background: Cancer is a major global health problem with high mortality rate. Most of
the clinically used anticancer agents induce apoptosis through genotoxic stress at various stages of
cell cycle and activation of p53. Acting as a tumor suppressor, p53 plays a vital role in preventing
tumor development. Tumor suppressor function of p53 is effectively antagonized by its direct interaction
with murine double minute 2 (Mdm2) proteins via multiple mechanisms. Thus, p53-Mdm2
interaction has been found to be an important target for the development of novel anticancer agents.
Currently, nutlin, spirooxindole, isoquilinone and piperidinone analogues inhibiting p53-Mdm2 interaction
are found to be promising in the treatment of cancer.
Objective: The current review focused to scrutinize the structural aspects of p53-Mdm2 interaction
Methods: The present study provides a detailed collection of published information on different
classes of inhibitors of p53-Mdm2 interaction as potential anticancer agents. The review highlighted
the structural aspects of various reported p53-Mdm2 inhibitors for optimization.
Results: In the last few years, different classes of inhibitors of p53-Mdm2 have been designed and
developed, and seven such compounds are being evaluated in clinical trials as new anticancer drugs.
Further, to explore the role of p53 protein as a potential target for anticancer drug development, in
this review, the mechanism of Mdm2 mediated inactivation of p53 and recent developments on p53-
Mdm2 interactions inhibitors are discussed.
Conclusion: Agents designed to block the p53-Mdm2 interaction may have a therapeutic potential
for the treatment of a subset of human cancers retaining wild-type p53. We review herein the recent
advances in the design and development of potent small molecules as p53-Mdm2 inhibitors.