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Bioorg Med Chem Lett. 2013 Jan 1;23(1):163-8. doi: 10.1016/j.bmcl.2012.10.131. Epub 2012 Nov 9.

Hybrid fluorescent conjugates of COX-2 inhibitors: search for a COX-2 isozyme imaging cancer biomarker.

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Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G 2E1.


The observation that the cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) isozyme is over-expressed in multiple types of cancer, relative to that in adjacent non-cancerous tissue, prompted this investigation to prepare a group of hybrid fluorescent conjugates wherein the COX inhibitors ibuprofen, (S)-naproxen, acetyl salicylic acid, a chlororofecoxib analog and celecoxib were coupled via a linker group to an acridone, dansyl or rhodamine B fluorophore. Within this group of compounds, the ibuprofen-acridone conjugate (10) showed potent and selective COX-2 inhibition (COX-2 IC(50)=0.67 μM; SI=110.6), but its fluorescence emission (λ(em)=417, 440 nm) was not suitable for fluorescent imaging of cancer cells that over-express the COX-2 isozyme. In comparison, the celecoxib-dansyl conjugate (25) showed a slightly lower COX-2 potency and selectivity (COX-2 IC(50)=1.1 μM; SI>90) than the conjugate 10, and it possesses a better fluorescence emission (λ(em)=500 nm). Ultimately, a celecoxib-rhodamine B conjugate (28) that exhibited moderate COX-2 potency and selectivity (COX-2 IC(50)=3.9 μM; SI>25) having the best fluorescence emission (λ(em)=580 nm) emerged as the most promising biomarker for fluorescence imaging using a colon cancer cell line that over-expresses the COX-2 isozyme.

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