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Eur J Med Chem. 2014 Mar 21;75:169-83. doi: 10.1016/j.ejmech.2014.01.048. Epub 2014 Jan 30.

2-[N-Alkyl(R-phenyl)-aminomethyl]-3-phenyl-7-trifluoromethylquinoxalines as anticancer agents inhibitors of folate enzymes.

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Dipartimento di Chimica e Farmacia, Università degli Studi di Sassari, Via Muroni 23/a, 07100 Sassari, Italy. Electronic address:
Dipartimento di Chimica e Farmacia, Università degli Studi di Sassari, Via Muroni 23/a, 07100 Sassari, Italy.
Dipartimento di Scienze Farmaceutiche, Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Via Campi 183, 41100 Modena, Italy.


Based on our previous results on the ascertained potent growth inhibition effect against a panel of 60 human tumors cell lines at National Cancer Institute of Bethesda (NCI), we have synthesized a novel series of thirty-one 2-[N-methyl(R-phenyl)-aminomethyl]-3-phenyl-7-trifluoromethylquinoxalines (1-31). The lead compound 1 was previously reported to be endowed with significant inhibition against hDHFR enzyme, with a Ki of 0.2 μM. Docking studies were performed on compound 1 and here reported to predict its binding conformation to human dihydrofolate reductase (hDHFR). All compounds (1-31) were assayed versus hDHFR and human thymidylate synthase (hTS). From the screening emerged that all compounds inhibited hDHFR with Ki values included between 0.2 and 11 μM, while only a few (6, 21, 24, 27, 29) showed great activity and selectivity towards hTS. Evaluation of the anticancer activity was performed by NCI, first against the three cell line panel, and only the most active compounds (17, 21, 24, 26, 27) were evaluated on a panel of 60 human tumor cell lines. Compound 21 was the most active against all cell lines with log GI50 equal to -5.49 and log LC50 equal to -4.19 and maintained significant percent of growth inhibition on seven cancer cell lines at the concentration of 1 μM. Compound 17 was the second most active and moreover showed interesting selectivity against some cell lines (Lung cancer: A549/ATCC, Melanoma: UACC-257, Ovarian Cancer: ovcar-8 and Renal cancer: RXF 393) at all concentration examined (100-0.01 μM).


Anticancer agents; Dihydrofolate reductase; Enzyme inhibition; Thymidylate synthase; Trifluoromehylquinoxaline

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