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Ukr. Bioorg. Acta 2020, Vol. 15, N1, 34-41.

Ńationic carboxamide derivatives of tricyclic heteroaromatic compounds: synthesis and preliminary evaluation of antiproliferative activity

Valentina G. Kostina, Inna V. Alexeeva, Nadia A. Lysenko, Valentina V. Negrutska, Igor Y. Dubey 

Institute of Molecular Biology and Genetics of the NAS of Ukraine, 150 Zabolotnogo St., Kyiv, 03680, Ukraine
tel.: +380-50-753-3660; e-mail: dubey@imbg.org.ua

ABSTRACT
This research was aimed at the synthesis and study of biological activity of the carboxamides of tricyclic heteroaromatic systems, acridone, phenazine and thioxanthone, containing the aliphatic and aromatic cationic substituents at amide fragment. These heterocyclic cores are DNA intercalating agents, whereas the introduction of cationic groups provide additional ionic interactions of the ligands with their biological targets, such as DNA and enzymatic complexes of the system of nucleic acids biosynthesis. A convenient way of the introduction of such groups is a modification of heterocyclic carboxamides. A small library of new cationic amide derivatives of acridone-4-, phenazine-1- and thioxanthone-4-carboxylic acids was obtained. They were synthesized in 37-81% yield by mild and selective quaternization of the nitrogen atoms at N,N-dimethylaminoalkyl and pyridylmethyl fragments of the neutral N-functionalized carboxamides with methyl iodide. Tricyclic heteroaromatic cores were not affected. Convenient protocol for the synthesis of thioxanthone-4-carboxylic acid (TCA) based on the reaction of 2-mercaptobenzoic and 2-iodobenzoic acids followed by cyclization of the intermediate was developed (yield 79%). A series of new N-functionalized neutral amides of TCA, the precursors of corresponding cationic carboxamide, were also obtained via the reaction of acyl chloride with amines. Preliminary in vitro testing of four compounds as potential antitumor agents in U87MG tumor cell culture (human malignant glioma) demonstrated their significant antiproliferative activity at low micromolar concentrations, with growth inhibition values GI50 in the range 1.7-11 µM. These results suggest that cationic carboxamides of tricyclic heteroaromatic systems are promising scaffolds for the design of new antitumor drugs.

KEYWORDS
acridone; phenazine; thioxanthone; carboxamides; antitumor agents.

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