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Chem Biol Drug Des. 2013 Feb;81(2):275-83. doi: 10.1111/cbdd.12077. Epub 2012 Nov 26.

Design, synthesis and biological evaluation of cinnamic acyl shikonin derivatives.

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  • 1State Key Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, China.


Inducing apoptosis is an important and promising therapeutic approach to overcome cancer. Here, we described a series of novel synthesized compounds, cinnamic acyl shikonin derivatives (1b-19b), which were synthesized starting from shikonin and cinnamic acids, which exhibit anticancer activity via inducing apoptosis in vitro. Our flow cytometry results showed that compound 8b((E)-1-(5,8-dihydroxy-1,4-dioxo-1,4-dihydronaphthalen-2-yl)-4-methylpent -3-enyl-3-(3-(trifluoromethyl) phenyl)acrylate) (IC(50) = 0.69, 0.65, 1.62 μM for human SW872-s, A875 and A549 cell lines, respectively) exhibited conspicuous anticancer activities and has low cell toxicity in vitro. Therefore, we considered that compound 8b is potentially to be a candidate of anticancer agent. The proliferation inhibitory effect of compound 8b was associated with its apoptosis-inducing effect by activating caspase-3, caspase-7, caspase-9, and PARP. When the level of cleaved caspase-3, cleaved caspase-7, cleaved caspase-9, and cleaved PARP are rise, apoptosis of cancer cells will be induced.

© 2012 John Wiley & Sons A/S.

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