As a continuation of our research on developing potent and potentially safe antineoplastic agents, a set of forty five sulfur-containing shikonin oxime derivatives were synthesized and evaluated for their in vitro cytotoxic activity against human colon cancer (HCT-15), gastric carcinoma (MGC-803), liver (Bel7402), breast (MCF-7) cancer cells and human skin fibroblast (HSF) cells. All the synthesized compounds exhibited potent cytotoxic activity selectively towards HCT-15 cells and did not display apparent toxicity to the normal HSF cells, some of which were more or comparatively effective to the parent compound against HCT-15, MGC-803 and Bel7402 cells. The most active agent 9m displayed high potency against human cancer cells with IC50 ranging from 0.27 ± 0.02 to 9.23 ± 0.12 μM. The structure-activity relationships (SARs) studies suggested that the nature of substituent group in the side chain is important for antitumor potency in vitro. Additionally, nitric oxide release studies revealed that the amount of nitric oxide generated from these oxime derivatives was relatively low. Furthermore, cellular mechanism investigations indicated that compound 9m could arrest cell cycle at G1 phase and induce a strong apoptotic response in HCT-15 cells. Moreover, western blot studies revealed that compound 9m induced apoptosis through the down-regulation of Bcl-2 and up-regulation of Bax, caspase 3 and 9. For all these reasons, compound 9m hold promising potential as antineoplastic agent.
European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry – Elsevier
Published: Jan 1, 2018
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