Background: Current drugs used for the treatment of hormone-dependent breast cancer function as
anti-estrogens in the breast, in addition to Estrogen Receptor (ER) agonists in the uterus, thus elevate a woman’s
risk of developing uterine cancer. This is due to the lack of selective binding and partial agonistic effect of these
drugs towards estrogen receptors. In recent years, therefore, researchers have turned their attention towards
antiestrogens devoid of these agonist properties and thus have a mechanism of action different from the existing
Objective: In this context, we report here the design, development and in vitro evaluation of some novel pharmacophores
containing coumarin and fatty acid scaffolds for their anti-breast cancer activity.
Methods: A library of coumarin-fatty acid conjugates was designed using structure-based drug design approach.
The conjugates which have shown good in silico results were then synthesized, characterized and evaluated for
their anti-breast cancer activity by MTT assay, Apoptotic assay, Cell proliferation assay, Estrogen binding assay
and Gene expression study.
Results: Out of the fifteen compounds screened, two compounds, SAC-2 and LNAC-2, showed good activity
with IC50 values 22µg/ml, 25μg/ml, respectively. These compounds suppressed the proliferation of ER overexpressed
MCF-7 cells, increased ERα degradation and hence inactivate the ERα pathway. ER binding assay and
gene expression RT-PCR study reveal that SAC-2 downregulated the expression of ERα receptor and AKT-1 gene.
Conclusion: Compound SAC-2 is a good antagonist to ER and hence has a potential for treating breast cancer
and other cancers where AKT plays an important role.