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Current Medicinal Chemistry


ISSN (Print): 0929-8673
ISSN (Online): 1875-533X

Diaryl Urea: A Privileged Structure in Anticancer Agents

Author(s): Laura Garuti, Marinella Roberti, Giovanni Bottegoni and Mariarosaria Ferraro

Volume 23, Issue 15, 2016

Page: [1528 - 1548] Pages: 21

DOI: 10.2174/0929867323666160411142532

Price: $65


The diaryl urea is an important fragment/pharmacophore in constructing anticancer molecules due to its near-perfect binding with certain acceptors. The urea NH moiety is a favorable hydrogen bond donor, while the urea oxygen atom is regarded as an excellent acceptor. Many novel compounds have been synthesized and evaluated for their antitumor activity with the successful development of sorafenib. Moreover, this structure is used to link alkylating pharmacophores with high affinity DNA binders. In addition, the diaryl urea is present in several kinase inhibitors, such as RAF, KDR and Aurora kinases. Above all, this moiety is used in the type II inhibitors: it usually forms one or two hydrogen bonds with a conserved glutamic acid and one with the backbone amide of the aspartic acid in the DFG motif. In addition, some diaryl urea derivatives act as Hedgehog (Hh) ligands, binding and inhibiting proteins involved in the homonymous Hh signaling pathway. In this review we provide some of the methodologies adopted for the synthesis of diaryl ureas and a description of the most representative antitumor agents bearing the diaryl urea moiety, focusing on their mechanisms bound to the receptors and structure-activity relationships (SAR). An increased knowledge of these derivatives could prompt the search to find new and more potent compounds.

Keywords: Diaryl urea, anticancer activity, DNA-alkylating agents, SAR, DFG-out, kinase inhibitors, heterocycles.

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