Design, synthesis and development of novel indolocarbazole derivatives as potential anti-cancer agents

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Pierce, Laurence Thomas
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University College Cork
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This thesis describes work carried out on the design of new routes to a range of bisindolylmaleimide and indolo[2,3-a]carbazole analogs, and investigation of their potential as successful anti-cancer agents. Following initial investigation of classical routes to indolo[2,3-a]pyrrolo[3,4-c]carbazole aglycons, a new strategy employing base-mediated condensation of thiourea and guanidine with a bisindolyl β-ketoester intermediate afforded novel 5,6-bisindolylpyrimidin-4(3H)-ones in moderate yields. Chemical diversity within this H-bonding scaffold was then studied by substitution with a panel of biologically relevant electrophiles, and by reductive desulfurisation. Optimisation of difficult heterogeneous literature conditions for oxidative desulfurisation of thiouracils was also accomplished, enabling a mild route to a novel 5,6-bisindolyluracil pharmacophore to be developed within this work. The oxidative cyclisation of selected acyclic bisindolyl systems to form a new planar class of indolo[2,3-a]pyrimido[5,4-c]carbazoles was also investigated. Successful conditions for this transformation, as well as the limitations currently prevailing for this approach are discussed. Synthesis of 3,4-bisindolyl-5-aminopyrazole as a potential isostere of bisindolylmaleimide agents was encountered, along with a comprehensive derivatisation study, in order to probe the chemical space for potential protein backbone H-bonding interactions. Synthesis of a related 3,4-arylindolyl-5-aminopyrazole series was also undertaken, based on identification of potent kinase inhibition within a closely related heterocyclic template. Following synthesis of approximately 50 novel compounds with a diversity of H-bonding enzyme-interacting potential within these classes, biological studies confirmed that significant topo II inhibition was present for 9 lead compounds, in previously unseen pyrazolo[1,5-a]pyrimidine, indolo[2,3-c]carbazole and branched S,N-disubstituted thiouracil derivative series. NCI-60 cancer cell line growth inhibition data for 6 representative compounds also revealed interesting selectivity differences between each compound class, while a new pyrimido[5,4-c]carbazole agent strongly inhibited cancer cell division at 10 µM, with appreciable cytotoxic activity observed across several tumour types.
Indolocarbazole , Indole , Carbazole , Cancer , Kinase
Pierce, L.T. 2011. Design, synthesis and development of novel indolocarbazole derivatives as potential anti-cancer agents. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.
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