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J Med Chem. 2003 Feb 13;46(4):525-31.

Antineoplastic agents. 487. Synthesis and biological evaluation of the antineoplastic agent 3,4-methylenedioxy-5,4'-dimethoxy-3'-amino-Z-stilbene and derived amino acid amides.

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Cancer Research Institute and Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Arizona State University, P.O. Box 872404, Tempe, Arizona 85287-2404, USA.


An efficient synthesis of 3,4-methylenedioxy-5,4'-dimethoxy-3'-amino-Z-stilbene (1c) and hydrochloride (1d) is reported. The nitrostilbene intermediate 6a was obtained via a Wittig reaction using phosphonium salt 4 and 3-nitro-4-methoxybenzaldehyde 5. A one-step reduction using zinc in acetic acid produced the synthetic objective amine 1c. The coupling of this amine with various Fmoc amino acids, followed by cleavage of the alpha-amine protecting group, resulted in a series of new cancer cell growth inhibitory amides. Amine 1c, hydrochloride 1d, glycine amide 3b, and tyrosine amide 3f had the highest level (GI50 = 10(-2)-10(-3) micro g/mL) of activity against a panel of six human and one animal (P388) cancer cell lines. Amine 1c and its hydrochloride 1d potently inhibited tubulin polymerization by binding at the colchicine site, while the amides had little activity against purified tubulin. Nevertheless, most of the amides caused a marked increase in the mitotic index of treated cells, indicating that tubulin was their intracellular target.

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