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Special Issue "Advances in Anticancer Drug Discovery"

A special issue of Molecules (ISSN 1420-3049). This special issue belongs to the section "Medicinal Chemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2021).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Jóhannes Reynisson FRSC
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Pharmacy, Keele University, UK
Interests: drug discovery; virtual screening; molecular modelling; chemical space; density functional theory
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In some developed countries, cancer is now the main cause of death. Even though great progress has been made in the treatment of cancer, and practically some cancer types are curable, there is an acute need for much-improved therapies. In particular, with aging demographics more people will develop neoplastic diseases and, eventually, cancer. A further consideration is that elderly people are less able to tolerate aggressive surgery, radiation therapy, and/or cytotoxic drugs. Therefore, oncologists are often forced to make the difficult decision not to propose any intervention and can only offer palliative care. Therefore, the need for more benign anticancer therapies is acute.      

In this Special Issue, we wish to focus on the area of drug discovery, design, and development, where new biological targets are being investigated and small molecules with potency against various cancer types are being developed, which in turn will lay the foundations for novel and more benign anticancer therapies.

Dr. Jóhannes Reynisson FRSC
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Drug discovery
  • Drug design
  • Anti-cancer
  • Anti-neoplastic
  • Anti-tumour
  • Screening—high throughput
  • virtual
  • and fragment-based
  • Synthesis
  • Chemical space
  • Structural activity relationship (SAR)
  • Biochemical assays
  • Biophysical assays
  • Cell-based assays
  • Druggability.

Published Papers (17 papers)

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Editorial

Jump to: Research, Review

Open AccessEditorial
Advances in Anticancer Drug Discovery
Molecules 2021, 26(7), 1821; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26071821 - 24 Mar 2021
Viewed by 284
Abstract
It has been an absolute pleasure to be the guest editor of this Special Issue! As the title indicates, the topic is on the advances made against cancer [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Anticancer Drug Discovery)
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Research

Jump to: Editorial, Review

Open AccessArticle
Synthesis, Anti-proliferative Activity, and Molecular Docking Study of New Series of 1,3-5-Triazine Schiff Base Derivatives
Molecules 2020, 25(18), 4065; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25184065 - 05 Sep 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 660
Abstract
Based on the use of s-triazine as a scaffold, we report here a new series of s-triazine Schiff base derivatives and their anti-proliferative activity against two cancer cell lines: human breast carcinoma (MCF-7), and colon cancer (HCT-116) compared with tamoxifen as [...] Read more.
Based on the use of s-triazine as a scaffold, we report here a new series of s-triazine Schiff base derivatives and their anti-proliferative activity against two cancer cell lines: human breast carcinoma (MCF-7), and colon cancer (HCT-116) compared with tamoxifen as a reference compound. Several derivatives exhibited growth inhibition activity in the sub-micromolar range. The results reveal that the s-triazine Schiff base derivatives showed varied activities and that the substituents on the s-triazine core have a great effect on the anti-proliferative activity. Compounds with a piperidino and benzylamino substituent on the s-triazine moiety 4b and 4c were most effective in both cell lines compared to the reference compound used. In addition, compound 4b has a para chlorine atom on the benzylidine residue, demonstrating the most potent activity with IC50 values of 3.29 and 3.64 µM in MCF-7 and HCT-116, respectively. These results indicate that in general, the nature of the substituents on the triazine core and the type of substituent on the benzilyldene ring significantly influenced the anti-proliferative activity. The results obtained from the anti-proliferative activity and the molecular docking study indicate that s-triazine-hydrazone derivatives may be an excellent scaffold for the development of new anti-cancer agents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Anticancer Drug Discovery)
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Open AccessArticle
Thiourea-Derived Chelating Ligands and Their Organometallic Compounds: Investigations into Their Anticancer Activity
Molecules 2020, 25(16), 3661; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25163661 - 11 Aug 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 981
Abstract
Thiones have been investigated as ligands in metal complexes with catalytic and biological activity. We report the synthesis, characterization, and biological evaluation of a series of MII/III complexes of the general formulae [MII(cym)(L)Cl]X (cym = η6-p-cymene) [...] Read more.
Thiones have been investigated as ligands in metal complexes with catalytic and biological activity. We report the synthesis, characterization, and biological evaluation of a series of MII/III complexes of the general formulae [MII(cym)(L)Cl]X (cym = η6-p-cymene) or [MIII(Cp*)(L)Cl]X (Cp* = η5-pentamethylcyclopentadienyl), where X = Cl or PF6, and L represents heterocyclic derivatives of thiourea. The thiones feature a benzyl-triazolyl pendant and they act as bidentate ligands via N,S-coordination to the metal centers. Several derivatives have been investigated by single-crystal X-ray diffraction analysis. NMR investigations showed a counterion-dependent shift of several protons due to the interaction with the counterions. These NMR investigations were complemented with X-ray diffraction analysis data and the effects of different counterions on the secondary coordination sphere were also investigated by DFT calculations. In biological studies, the Ir benzimidazole derivative was found to accumulate in the cytoplasm and it was the most cytotoxic derivative investigated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Anticancer Drug Discovery)
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Open AccessArticle
Design, Synthesis, and Biological Investigation of Novel Classes of 3-Carene-Derived Potent Inhibitors of TDP1
Molecules 2020, 25(15), 3496; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25153496 - 31 Jul 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 699
Abstract
Two novel structural types of tyrosyl-DNA phosphodiesterase 1 (TDP1) inhibitors with hexahydroisobenzofuran 11 and 3-oxabicyclo [3.3.1]nonane 12 scaffolds were discovered. These monoterpene-derived compounds were synthesized through preliminary isomerization of (+)-3-carene to (+)-2-carene followed by reaction with heteroaromatic aldehydes. All the compounds inhibit the [...] Read more.
Two novel structural types of tyrosyl-DNA phosphodiesterase 1 (TDP1) inhibitors with hexahydroisobenzofuran 11 and 3-oxabicyclo [3.3.1]nonane 12 scaffolds were discovered. These monoterpene-derived compounds were synthesized through preliminary isomerization of (+)-3-carene to (+)-2-carene followed by reaction with heteroaromatic aldehydes. All the compounds inhibit the TDP1 enzyme at micro- and submicromolar levels, with the most potent compound having an IC50 value of 0.65 μM. TDP1 is an important DNA repair enzyme and a promising target for the development of new chemosensitizing agents. A panel of isogenic clones of the HEK293FT cell line knockout for the TDP1 gene was created using the CRISPR-Cas9 system. Cytotoxic effects of topotecan (Tpc) and non-cytotoxic compounds of the new structures were investigated separately and jointly in the TDP1 gene knockout cells. For two TDP1 inhibitors, 11h and 12k, a synergistic effect was observed with Tpc in the HEK293FT cells but was not found in TDP1 −/− cells. Thus, it is likely that the synergistic effect is caused by inhibition of TDP1. Synergy was also found for 11h in other cancer cell lines. Thus, sensitizing cancer cells using a non-cytotoxic drug can enhance the efficacy of currently used pharmaceuticals and, concomitantly, reduce toxic side effects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Anticancer Drug Discovery)
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Open AccessArticle
10-Gingerol Targets Lipid Rafts Associated PI3K/Akt Signaling in Radio-Resistant Triple Negative Breast Cancer Cells
Molecules 2020, 25(14), 3164; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25143164 - 10 Jul 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 766
Abstract
10-Gingerol is a major phenolic lipid found in the rhizomes of ginger (Zingiber officinale). Being amphiphilic in nature, phenolic lipids have the ability to incorporate into cell membranes and modulate membrane properties. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate [...] Read more.
10-Gingerol is a major phenolic lipid found in the rhizomes of ginger (Zingiber officinale). Being amphiphilic in nature, phenolic lipids have the ability to incorporate into cell membranes and modulate membrane properties. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the effects of 10-gingerol on lipid raft/membrane raft modulation in radio-resistant triple negative breast cancer (MDA-MB-231/IR) cells. The effects of 10-gingerol on MDA-MB-231/IR cells’ proliferation, clonogenic growth, migration, and invasion were assayed using MTT, colony formation, cell migration, and invasion assays, respectively. Sucrose density gradient centrifugation was used to extract lipid rafts. Western blotting and immunofluorescence were employed to assess the effects of 10-gingerol on lipid raft/membrane raft modulation and lipid rafts-associated PI3K/Akt signaling. Cholesterol measurements were carried out using a commercially available kit. 10-gingerol suppressed the proliferation, migration, invasion, and induced apoptosis through targeting the PI3K/Akt signaling pathway in MDA-MB-231/IR cells. Moreover, 10-gingerol was found to modulate the lipid rafts of MDA-MB-231/IR cells and attenuate the key PI3K/Akt signaling components in lipid rafts. The cholesterol content of the lipid rafts and rafts-resident Akt signaling were also affected by exposure to 10-gingerol. The results of the present study highlight rafts-associated PI3K/Akt signaling as a new target of 10-gingerol in MDA-MB-231/IR cells, thus rationalizing a new rafts-mediated treatment approach for radio-resistant triple negative breast cancer cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Anticancer Drug Discovery)
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Open AccessArticle
Treatment with a New Barbituric Acid Derivative Exerts Antiproliferative and Antimigratory Effects against Sorafenib Resistance in Hepatocellular Carcinoma
Molecules 2020, 25(12), 2856; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25122856 - 20 Jun 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 880
Abstract
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a common cause of cancer death worldwide. Sorafenib, a multikinase inhibitor, is the first-line drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of patients with advanced HCC. However, most patients who continuously receive sorafenib may [...] Read more.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a common cause of cancer death worldwide. Sorafenib, a multikinase inhibitor, is the first-line drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of patients with advanced HCC. However, most patients who continuously receive sorafenib may acquire resistance to this drug. Therefore, it is important to develop a new compound to treat liver cancer and sorafenib-resistant liver cancer. Barbituric acid derivatives have been used as antiasthmatic drugs in the clinic. We previously reported that a novel barbituric acid derivative inhibited carbon tetrachloride-induced liver fibrosis in mice, but its effects on liver cancer remain unknown. Thus, the purpose of this study was to investigate the antitumor effect of barbituric acid derivatives on HCC cells and sorafenib-resistant HCC cells (HCC-SRs). Our findings reveal that one of the barbituric acid derivatives, BA-5, significantly inhibited HCC and HCC-SR cell viability in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Therefore, compound BA-5 was selected for further experiments. Western blot data revealed that BA-5 treatment decreased the phosphorylation of AKT/p70s6k without affecting the MAPK pathway and increased cleaved PARP and cleaved caspase-7 in both HCC and HCC-SR cells. Since epithelial-mesenchymal transition plays a significant role in regulating cancer invasion and migration, we used the wound healing assay to evaluate the antimigratory effect of compound BA-5. The results showed that BA-5 treatment inhibited HCC and HCC-SR cell migration and reduced Vimentin protein expression. These results were confirmed by microarray analysis showing that BA-5 treatment influenced cancer cell motility and growth-related pathways. In the xenograft mouse model experiment, BA-5 administration significantly inhibited HCC cancer cell growth in mice. Furthermore, the combination of BA-5 with a low dose of regorafenib synergistically inhibited HCC-SR cell proliferation. In conclusion, our study showed that the barbituric acid derivative BA-5 is a new candidate for HCC and sorafenib-resistant HCC therapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Anticancer Drug Discovery)
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Open AccessArticle
Anticancer Activity of Pyrimethamine via Ubiquitin Mediated Degradation of AIMP2-DX2
Molecules 2020, 25(12), 2763; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25122763 - 15 Jun 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 646
Abstract
While aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase-interacting multifunctional protein 2 (AIMP2) is a tumor suppressor, its exon 2-depleted splice variant (AIMP2-DX2 or shortly DX2) is highly expressed in human lung cancer, and the ratio of DX2 to AIMP2 increases according to the progression of lung cancer. In [...] Read more.
While aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase-interacting multifunctional protein 2 (AIMP2) is a tumor suppressor, its exon 2-depleted splice variant (AIMP2-DX2 or shortly DX2) is highly expressed in human lung cancer, and the ratio of DX2 to AIMP2 increases according to the progression of lung cancer. In this study, pyrimethamine inhibited the level of DX2 (IC50 = 0.73 µM) in A549 cells expressing nanoluciferase-tagged DX2. In a panel of 5 lung cancer cell lines with various DX2 levels, pyrimethamine most potently suppressed the growth of H460 cells, which express high levels of DX2 (GI50 = 0.01 µM). An immunoblot assay in H460 cells showed that pyrimethamine decreased the DX2 level dose-dependently but did not affect the AIMP2 level. Further experiments confirmed that pyrimethamine resulted in ubiquitination-mediated DX2 degradation. In an in vivo mouse xenograft assay using H460 cells, intraperitoneal administration of pyrimethamine significantly reduced the tumor size and weight, comparable with the effects of taxol, without affecting body weight. Analysis of tumor tissue showed a considerably high concentration of pyrimethamine with a decreased levels of DX2. These results suggest that pyrimethamine, currently used as anti-parasite drug, could be repurposed to treat lung cancer patients expressing high level of DX2. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Anticancer Drug Discovery)
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Open AccessArticle
Quercetin Inhibits Lef1 and Resensitizes Docetaxel-Resistant Breast Cancer Cells
Molecules 2020, 25(11), 2576; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25112576 - 01 Jun 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 749
Abstract
Drug resistance is a major problem for breast cancer patients. Docetaxel is an anti-mitotic agent that serves as first line of treatment in metastatic breast cancer, however it is susceptible to cellular drug resistance. Drug-resistant cells are able to spread during treatment, leading [...] Read more.
Drug resistance is a major problem for breast cancer patients. Docetaxel is an anti-mitotic agent that serves as first line of treatment in metastatic breast cancer, however it is susceptible to cellular drug resistance. Drug-resistant cells are able to spread during treatment, leading to treatment failure and eventually metastasis, which remains the main cause for cancer-associated death. In previous studies, we used single-cell technologies and identified a set of genes that exhibit increased expression in drug-resistant cells, and they are mainly regulated by Lef1. Furthermore, upregulating Lef1 in parental cells caused them to become drug resistant. Therefore, we hypothesized that inhibiting Lef1 could resensitize cells to docetaxel. Here, we confirmed that Lef1 inhibition, especially on treatment with the small molecule quercetin, decreased the expression of Lef1 and resensitized cells to docetaxel. Our results demonstrate that Lef1 inhibition also downregulated ABCG2, Vim, and Cav1 expression and equally decreased Smad-dependent TGF-β signaling pathway activation. Likewise, these two molecules worked in a synergetic manner, greatly reducing the viability of drug-resistant cells. Prior studies in phase I clinical trials have already shown that quercetin can be safely administered to patients. Therefore, the use of quercetin as an adjuvant treatment in addition to docetaxel for the treatment of breast cancer may be a promising therapeutic approach. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Anticancer Drug Discovery)
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Open AccessArticle
1-Hydroxyanthraquinones Containing Aryl Substituents as Potent and Selective Anticancer Agents
Molecules 2020, 25(11), 2547; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25112547 - 29 May 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 782
Abstract
A series of 1,2-, 1,4-disubstituted or 1,2,4-trisubstituted anthraquinone-based compounds was designed, synthesized, characterized and biologically evaluated for anticancer efficacy. 2- or 4-arylated 1-hydroxy-9,10-antraquinones (anthracene-9,10-diones) were prepared by Suzuki–Miyaura cross-coupling reaction of 1-hydroxy-2-bromoanthraquinone, 1-hydroxy-4-iodoanthraquinone or 1-hydroxy-2,4-dibromoanthraquinone with arylboronic acids. The cross-coupling reaction of 2,4-dibromo-9,10-anthraquinone [...] Read more.
A series of 1,2-, 1,4-disubstituted or 1,2,4-trisubstituted anthraquinone-based compounds was designed, synthesized, characterized and biologically evaluated for anticancer efficacy. 2- or 4-arylated 1-hydroxy-9,10-antraquinones (anthracene-9,10-diones) were prepared by Suzuki–Miyaura cross-coupling reaction of 1-hydroxy-2-bromoanthraquinone, 1-hydroxy-4-iodoanthraquinone or 1-hydroxy-2,4-dibromoanthraquinone with arylboronic acids. The cross-coupling reaction of 2,4-dibromo-9,10-anthraquinone with arylboronic acids provide a convenient approach to 2,4-bis arylated 1-hydroxyanthraquinones with a variety of aryl substituent in the 2 and 4 position. The cytotoxicity of new anthraquinone derivatives was evaluated using the conventional MTT assays. The data revealed that six of the aryl substituted compounds among the entire series 3, 15, 16, 25, 27, 28 were comparable potent with the commercially available reference drug doxorubicin on the human glioblastoma cells SNB-19, prostate cancer DU-145 or breast cancer cells MDA-MB-231 and were relatively safe towards human telomerase (h-TERT)immortalized lung fibroblasts cells. The results suggested that the in vitro antitumor activity of synthesized 2-aryl, 4-aryl- and 2,4-diaryl substituted 1-hydroxyanthraquinones depends on the nature of the substituent within the cyclic backbone. Docking interaction of 2-, 4-substituted and 2,4-disubstituted 1-hydroxyanthraquinones indicates intercalative mode of binding of compounds with DNA topoisomerase. The interaction with the DNA of 4-aryl-13, 15, 16 and 4-(furan-3-yl)-23 1-hydroxyanthraquinones was experimentally confirmed through a change in electroforetic mobility. Further experiments with 1-hydroxy-4-phenyl-anthraquinone 13 demonstrated that the compound induced cell cycle arrest at sub-G1 phase in DU-145 cells in the concentration 1.1 μM, which is probably achieved by inducing apoptosis. 4-Arylsubstituted 1-hydroxyanthraquinones 13 and 16 induced the enhancement of DNA synthesis on SNB19 cell lines. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Anticancer Drug Discovery)
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Open AccessArticle
Immunomodulatory Drugs Alter the Metabolism and the Extracellular Release of Soluble Mediators by Normal Monocytes
Molecules 2020, 25(2), 367; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25020367 - 16 Jan 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 871
Abstract
Immunomodulatory drugs (IMiDs) are used in the treatment of hematological malignancies, especially multiple myeloma. IMiDs have direct anticancer effects but also indirect effects via cancer-supporting stromal cells. Monocytes are a stromal cell subset whose metabolism is modulated by the microenvironment, and they communicate [...] Read more.
Immunomodulatory drugs (IMiDs) are used in the treatment of hematological malignancies, especially multiple myeloma. IMiDs have direct anticancer effects but also indirect effects via cancer-supporting stromal cells. Monocytes are a stromal cell subset whose metabolism is modulated by the microenvironment, and they communicate with neighboring cells through extracellular release of soluble mediators. Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) is then a common regulator of monocyte metabolism and mediator release. Our aim was to investigate IMiD effects on these two monocyte functions. We compared effects of thalidomide, lenalidomide, and pomalidomide on in vitro cultured normal monocytes. Cells were cultured in medium alone or activated by lipopolysaccharide (LPS), a TLR4 agonist. Metabolism was analyzed by the Seahorse XF 96 cell analyzer. Mediator release was measured as culture supernatant levels. TLR4 was a regulator of both monocyte metabolism and mediator release. All three IMiDs altered monocyte metabolism especially when cells were cultured with LPS; this effect was strongest for lenalidomide that increased glycolysis. Monocytes showed a broad soluble mediator release profile. IMiDs decreased TLR4-induced mediator release; this effect was stronger for pomalidomide than for lenalidomide and especially thalidomide. To conclude, IMiDs can alter the metabolism and cell–cell communication of normal monocytes, and despite their common molecular target these effects differ among various IMiDs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Anticancer Drug Discovery)
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Open AccessArticle
A Novel Flavonoid Kushenol Z from Sophora flavescens Mediates mTOR Pathway by Inhibiting Phosphodiesterase and Akt Activity to Induce Apoptosis in Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer Cells
Molecules 2019, 24(24), 4425; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24244425 - 04 Dec 2019
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 911
Abstract
The roots of Sophora flavescens (SF) are clinically used as a traditional Chinese medicine for the treatment of various lung diseases. In this study, we investigated the mechanism by which SF inhibits proliferation and induces apoptosis in non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cells. A [...] Read more.
The roots of Sophora flavescens (SF) are clinically used as a traditional Chinese medicine for the treatment of various lung diseases. In this study, we investigated the mechanism by which SF inhibits proliferation and induces apoptosis in non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cells. A new compound, kushenol Z (KZ), and 14 known flavonoids were isolated from SF. KZ, sophoraflavanone G, and kushenol A demonstrated potent cytotoxicity against NSCLC cells in a dose- and time-dependent manner; KZ showed a wide therapeutic window. We also found that KZ induced NSCLC cell apoptosis by increasing the Bax/Bcl-2 ratio and by activating caspase-3 and caspase-9 leading to mitochondrial apoptosis, and upregulated CHOP and activatedcaspase-7 and caspase-12, which triggered the endoplasmic reticulum stress pathway. After KZ treatment, we observed cAMP accumulation, which reflected the inhibition of cAMP-phosphodiesterase (PDE), along with the increase in PKA activity; additionally, phospho-p70 S6 kinase was downregulated. KZ also attenuated the phosphorylation of Akt and PRAS40, which was partially rescued by an Akt activator. This suggested that KZ mediated the antiproliferative activity in NSCLC cells by inhibiting the mTOR pathway through the inhibition of cAMP-PDE and Akt. These findings suggested that KZ may be used as a promising cAMP-PDE and Akt inhibitor in targeted chemotherapeutic drug development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Anticancer Drug Discovery)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Discovery and Characterisation of Dual Inhibitors of Tryptophan 2,3-Dioxygenase (TDO2) and Indoleamine 2,3-Dioxygenase 1 (IDO1) Using Virtual Screening
Molecules 2019, 24(23), 4346; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24234346 - 28 Nov 2019
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1198
Abstract
Cancers express tryptophan catabolising enzymes indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase 1 (IDO1) and tryptophan 2,3-dioxygenase (TDO2) to produce immunosuppressive tryptophan metabolites that undermine patients’ immune systems, leading to poor disease outcomes. Both enzymes are validated targets for cancer immunotherapy but there is a paucity of potent [...] Read more.
Cancers express tryptophan catabolising enzymes indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase 1 (IDO1) and tryptophan 2,3-dioxygenase (TDO2) to produce immunosuppressive tryptophan metabolites that undermine patients’ immune systems, leading to poor disease outcomes. Both enzymes are validated targets for cancer immunotherapy but there is a paucity of potent TDO2 and dual IDO1/TDO2 inhibitors. To identify novel dual IDO1/TDO2 scaffolds, 3D shape similarity and pharmacophore in silico screening was conducted using TDO2 as a model for both systems. The obtained hits were tested in cancer cell lines expressing mainly IDO1 (SKOV3—ovarian), predominantly TDO2 (A172—brain), and both IDO1 and TDO2 (BT549—breast). Three virtual screening hits were confirmed as inhibitors (TD12, TD18 and TD34). Dose response experiments showed that TD34 is the most potent inhibitor capable of blocking both IDO1 and TDO2 activity, with the IC50 value for BT549 at 3.42 µM. This work identified new scaffolds able to inhibit both IDO1 and TDO2, thus enriching the collection of dual IDO1/TDO2 inhibitors and providing chemical matter for potential development into future anticancer drugs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Anticancer Drug Discovery)
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Review

Jump to: Editorial, Research

Open AccessReview
Recent Advances in Tannic Acid (Gallotannin) Anticancer Activities and Drug Delivery Systems for Efficacy Improvement; A Comprehensive Review
Molecules 2021, 26(5), 1486; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26051486 - 09 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 651
Abstract
Tannic acid is a chief gallo-tannin belonging to the hydrolysable tannins extracted from gall nuts and other plant sources. A myriad of pharmaceutical and biological applications in the medical field has been well recognized to tannic acid. Among these effects, potential anticancer activities [...] Read more.
Tannic acid is a chief gallo-tannin belonging to the hydrolysable tannins extracted from gall nuts and other plant sources. A myriad of pharmaceutical and biological applications in the medical field has been well recognized to tannic acid. Among these effects, potential anticancer activities against several solid malignancies such as liver, breast, lung, pancreatic, colorectal and ovarian cancers have been reported. Tannic acid was found to play a maestro-role in tuning several oncological signaling pathways including JAK/STAT, RAS/RAF/mTOR, TGF-β1/TGF-β1R axis, VEGF/VEGFR and CXCL12/CXCR4 axes. The combinational beneficial effects of tannic acid with other conventional chemotherapeutic drugs have been clearly demonstrated in literature such as a synergistic anticancer effect and enhancement of the chemo-sensitivity in several resistant cases. Yet, clinical applications of tannic acid have been limited owing to its poor lipid solubility, low bioavailability, off-taste, and short half-life. To overcome such obstacles, novel drug delivery systems have been employed to deliver tannic acid with the aim of improving its applications and/or efficacy against cancer cells. Among these drug delivery systems are several types of organic and metallic nanoparticles. In this review, the authors focus on the molecular mechanisms of tannic acid in tuning several neoplastic diseases as well as novel drug delivery systems that can be used for its clinical applications with an attempt to provide a systemic reference to promote the development of tannic acid as a cheap drug and/or drug delivery system in cancer management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Anticancer Drug Discovery)
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Open AccessReview
Involvement of Integrin-Activating Peptides Derived from Tenascin-C in Cancer Aggression and New Anticancer Strategy Using the Fibronectin-Derived Integrin-Inactivating Peptide
Molecules 2020, 25(14), 3239; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25143239 - 16 Jul 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 845
Abstract
Matricellular proteins, which exist in association with the extracellular matrix (ECM) and ECM protein molecules, harbor functional sites within their molecular structures. These functional sites are released through proteolytic cleavage by inflammatory proteinases, such as matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and a disintegrin and metalloproteinase [...] Read more.
Matricellular proteins, which exist in association with the extracellular matrix (ECM) and ECM protein molecules, harbor functional sites within their molecular structures. These functional sites are released through proteolytic cleavage by inflammatory proteinases, such as matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and a disintegrin and metalloproteinase with thrombospondin motifs (ADAMTS), and the peptides containing these functional sites have unique biological activities that are often not detected in the parent molecules. We previously showed that tenascin-C (TNC) and plasma fibronectin (pFN), examples of matricellular proteins, have cryptic bioactive sites that have opposite effects on cell adhesion to the ECM. A peptide containing the bioactive site of TNC, termed TNIIIA2, which is highly released at sites of inflammation and in the tumor microenvironment (TME), has the ability to potently and persistently activate β1-integrins. In the opposite manner, the peptide FNIII14 containing the bioactive site of pFN has the ability to inactivate β1-integrins. This review highlights that peptide TNIIIA2 can act as a procancer factor and peptide FNIII14 can act as an anticancer agent, based on the regulation on β1-integrin activation. Notably, the detrimental effects of TNIIIA2 can be inhibited by FNIII14. These findings open the possibility for new therapeutic strategies based on the inactivation of β1-integrin by FNIII14. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Anticancer Drug Discovery)
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Open AccessReview
Bioactive C17 and C18 Acetylenic Oxylipins from Terrestrial Plants as Potential Lead Compounds for Anticancer Drug Development
Molecules 2020, 25(11), 2568; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25112568 - 31 May 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1112
Abstract
Bioactive C17 and C18 acetylenic oxylipins have shown to contribute to the cytotoxic, anti-inflammatory, and potential anticancer properties of terrestrial plants. These acetylenic oxylipins are widely distributed in plants belonging to the families Apiaceae, Araliaceae, and Asteraceae, and have shown to [...] Read more.
Bioactive C17 and C18 acetylenic oxylipins have shown to contribute to the cytotoxic, anti-inflammatory, and potential anticancer properties of terrestrial plants. These acetylenic oxylipins are widely distributed in plants belonging to the families Apiaceae, Araliaceae, and Asteraceae, and have shown to induce cell cycle arrest and/or apoptosis of cancer cells in vitro and to exert a chemopreventive effect on cancer development in vivo. The triple bond functionality of these oxylipins transform them into highly alkylating compounds being reactive to proteins and other biomolecules. This enables them to induce the formation of anti-inflammatory and cytoprotective phase 2 enzymes via activation of the Keap1–Nrf2 signaling pathway, inhibition of proinflammatory peptides and proteins, and/or induction of endoplasmic reticulum stress, which, to some extent, may explain their chemopreventive effects. In addition, these acetylenic oxylipins have shown to act as ligands for the nuclear receptor PPARγ, which play a central role in growth, differentiation, and apoptosis of cancer cells. Bioactive C17 and C18 acetylenic oxylipins appear, therefore, to constitute a group of promising lead compounds for the development of anticancer drugs. In this review, the cytotoxic, anti-inflammatory and anticancer effects of C17 and C18 acetylenic oxylipins from terrestrial plants are presented and their possible mechanisms of action and structural requirements for optimal cytotoxicity are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Anticancer Drug Discovery)
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Open AccessReview
Recent Advances in the Chemical Synthesis and Evaluation of Anticancer Nucleoside Analogues
Molecules 2020, 25(9), 2050; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25092050 - 28 Apr 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1413
Abstract
Nucleoside analogues have proven to be highly successful chemotherapeutic agents in the treatment of a wide variety of cancers. Several such compounds, including gemcitabine and cytarabine, are the go-to option in first-line treatments. However, these materials do have limitations and the development of [...] Read more.
Nucleoside analogues have proven to be highly successful chemotherapeutic agents in the treatment of a wide variety of cancers. Several such compounds, including gemcitabine and cytarabine, are the go-to option in first-line treatments. However, these materials do have limitations and the development of next generation compounds remains a topic of significant interest and necessity. Herein, we discuss recent advances in the chemical synthesis and biological evaluation of nucleoside analogues as potential anticancer agents. Focus is paid to 4′-heteroatom substitution of the furanose oxygen, 2′-, 3′-, 4′- and 5′-position ring modifications and the development of new prodrug strategies for these materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Anticancer Drug Discovery)
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Open AccessReview
Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms of Cytotoxic Activity of Vanadium Compounds against Cancer Cells
Molecules 2020, 25(7), 1757; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25071757 - 10 Apr 2020
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 994
Abstract
Discovering that metals are essential for the structure and function of biomolecules has given a completely new perspective on the role of metal ions in living organisms. Nowadays, the design and synthesis of new metal-based compounds, as well as metal ion binding components, [...] Read more.
Discovering that metals are essential for the structure and function of biomolecules has given a completely new perspective on the role of metal ions in living organisms. Nowadays, the design and synthesis of new metal-based compounds, as well as metal ion binding components, for the treatment of human diseases is one of the main aims of bioinorganic chemistry. One of the areas in vanadium-based compound research is their potential anticancer activity. In this review, we summarize recent molecular and cellular mechanisms in the cytotoxic activity of many different synthetic vanadium complexes as well as inorganic salts. Such mechanisms shall include DNA binding, oxidative stress, cell cycle regulation and programed cell death. We focus mainly on cellular studies involving many type of cancer cell lines trying to highlight some new significant advances. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Anticancer Drug Discovery)
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