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J Med Chem. 2011 Dec 22;54(24):8394-406. doi: 10.1021/jm2012886. Epub 2011 Nov 21.

Design and synthesis of 2-heterocyclyl-3-arylthio-1H-indoles as potent tubulin polymerization and cell growth inhibitors with improved metabolic stability.

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Istituto Pasteur-Fondazione Cenci Bolognetti, Dipartimento di Chimica e Tecnologie del Farmaco, Sapienza Università di Roma, Piazzale Aldo Moro 5, I-00185 Roma, Italy.


New arylthioindoles (ATIs) were obtained by replacing the 2-alkoxycarbonyl group with a bioisosteric 5-membered heterocycle nucleus. The new ATIs 5, 8, and 10 inhibited tubulin polymerization, reduced cell growth of a panel of human transformed cell lines, and showed higher metabolic stability than the reference ester 3. These compounds induced mitotic arrest and apoptosis at a similar level as combretastatin A-4 and vinblastine and triggered caspase-3 expression in a significant fraction of cells in both p53-proficient and p53-defective cell lines. Importantly, ATIs 5, 8, and 10 were more effective than vinorelbine, vinblastine, and paclitaxel as growth inhibitors of the P-glycoprotein-overexpressing cell line NCI/ADR-RES. Compound 5 was shown to have medium metabolic stability in both human and mouse liver microsomes, in contrast to the rapidly degraded reference ester 3, and a pharmacokinetic profile in the mouse characterized by a low systemic clearance and excellent oral bioavailability.

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