Synthesis and evaluation of novel azaindolocarbazole derivatives as cancer chemotherapeutics

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Cahill, Michael M.
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University College Cork
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This thesis details the design and implementation of novel chemical routes towards a series of highly propitious 7-azaindolyl derivatives of the indolocarbazole (ICZ) and bisindolylmaleimide (BIM) families, with subsequent evaluation for use as cancer chemotherapeutic agents. A robust synthetic strategy was devised to allow the introduction of a 7-azaindolyl moiety into our molecular template. This approach allowed access to a wide range of β-keto ester and β-keto nitrile intermediates. Critical analysis identified F-ring modulation as a major theme towards the advancement of ICZ and BIM derivatives in drug therapy. Thus, the employment of cyclocondensation methodology furnished a number of novel aminopyrazole, isoxazolone, pyrazolone and pyrimidinone analogues, considerably widening the scope of the prevalent maleimide functionality. Photochemical cyclisation provided for the first reported aza ICZ containing a six-membered F-ring. Another method towards achieving the aza ICZ core involved use of a Perkin-type condensation approach, with chemical elaboration of the headgroup instigated post-aromatisation. Subsequent use of a modified Lossen rearrangement allowed access to further analogues containing a six-membered F-ring. Extensive screening of the novel aza ICZ and BIM derivatives was carried out against the NCI-60 cancer cell array, with nine prospective candidates selected for continued biological evaluation. From these assays, a number of compounds were shown to inhibit cancer cell growth at concentrations of below 10 nM. Indeed, the most active aza ICZ tested is currently under assessment by the Biological Evaluation Committee of the NCI due to excellent antiproliferative activity demonstrated across the panel of cell lines, with a mean GI50 of 34 nM, a mean total growth inhibition (TGI) of 4.6 μM and a mean cytotoxicity (LC50) of 63.1 μM. Correlation to known topoisomerase I (topo I) inhibitors was revealed by COMPARE analysis, and subsequent topo I-mediated DNA cleavage assays showed inhibitory activity below 1 μM for several derivatives.
Indolocarbazole , Bisindolylmaleimide , Azaindole , Anti-cancer , Cell cycle
Cahill, M. 2013. Synthesis and evaluation of novel azaindolocarbazole derivatives as cancer chemotherapeutics. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.