Neuropilin-1 (NRP-1) is an extra-cellular receptor for the main Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor over-expressed in tumour tissues, VEGF-A165. Consequently, NRP-1 is involved in angiogenesis and in tumour growth, and its over-expression is related to a clinical poor prognosis. NRP-1 appears as a major target in oncology, which remains poorly exploited. Herein, we report a new series of 18 small-sized fully organic VEGF-A165/NRP-1 antagonists (NRPas). These compounds share an original scaffold, including two linkers (sulphonamide and amide) and three aromatic cores. Among them, 2a (renamed NRPa-308) emerges as a promising “hit”. In vitro, 2a exerts not only potent anti-angiogenic activity, but also significant effects on cell viability of large panel of human solid and haematological cancer cell lines. Importantly, 2a is less cytotoxic on healthy tissues than the marketed anti-angiogenic drug sunitinib. Lastly, in a mouse xenograft model (human MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells), 2a improves the median survival and reduces the tumour growth, but does not exert visible acute toxicity. Altogether, these results highlight its huge potential for a further “hit-to-lead” optimization, leading to new anti-cancer drugs.
Cancer Letters – Elsevier
Published: Feb 1, 2018
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