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Optimization of the Lactam Side Chain of 7‑Azaindenoisoquinoline Topoisomerase I Inhibitors and Mechanism of Action Studies in Cancer Cells

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journal contribution
posted on 17.12.2015, 00:48 by Evgeny Kiselev, Dhriti Sooryakumar, Keli Agama, Mark Cushman, Yves Pommier
Optimization of the lactam ω-aminoalkyl substituents in a series of 7-azaindenoisoquinolines resulted in new anticancer agents with improved Top1 inhibitory potencies and cancer cell cytotoxicities. The new compounds 14–17 and 19 exhibited mean graph midpoint cytotoxicity (GI50) values of 21–71 nM in the NCI panel of 60 human cancer cell cultures. Ternary 7-azaindenoisoquinoline–DNA–Top1 cleavage complexes that persist for up to 6 h were detected in HCT116 colon cancer cells. Ternary complexes containing 7-azaindenoisoquinolines were significantly more stable than those in which camptothecin was incorporated. DNA content distribution histograms showed S-phase block 3 h after drug removal. Drug-induced DNA damage in HCT116 cells was revealed by induction of the histone γ-H2AX marker. The 7-azaindenoisoquinolines were able to partially overcome resistance in several drug-resistant cell lines, and they were not substrates for the ABCB1 drug efflux transporter. Molecular modeling studies indicate that the 7-azaindenoisoquinolines intercalate at the DNA cleavage site in DNA–Top1 covalent complexes with the lactam side chain projecting into the major groove. Overall, the results indicate that the 7-azaindenoisoquinolines are promising anticancer agents that merit further development.