Gliomas are one of the most aggressive and treatment-resistant types of human brain cancer. Identification and evaluation of anticancer properties of compounds found in plants, such as naringenin (N) and 8-prenylnaringenin (8PN), are among the most promising applications in glioma therapy. The prenyl group seems to be crucial to the anticancer activity of flavones, since it may lead to enhanced cell membrane targeting and thus increased intracellular activity. It should be noted that 8PN content in hop cones is 10 to 100 times lower compared to other flavonoids, such as xanthohumol. In the study presented, we used a simple method for the synthesis of 8PN from isoxanthohumol—O
-demethylation, with a high yield of 97%. Cellular accumulation and cytotoxicity of naringenin and 8-prenylnaringenin in normal (BJ) and cancer cells (U-118 MG) was also examined. Obtained data indicated that 8-prenylnaringenin exhibited higher cytotoxicity against used cell lines than naringenin, and the effect of both flavones was stronger in U-118 MG cells than in normal fibroblasts. The anticancer properties of 8PN correlated with its significantly greater (37%) accumulation in glioblastoma cells than in normal fibroblasts. Additionally, naringenin demonstrated higher selectivity for glioblastoma cells, as it was over six times more toxic for cancer than normal cells. Our results provide evidence that examined prenylated and non-prenylated flavanones have different biological activities against normal and cancer cell lines, and this property may be useful in designing new anticancer drugs for glioblastoma therapy.
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