Pyrrolo[2',3':3,4]cyclohepta[1,2-d][1,2]oxazoles, a New Class of Antimitotic Agents Active against Multiple Malignant Cell Types

Virginia Spano', Alessandra Montalbano, Paola Barraja, Maria Valeria Raimondi, Marilia Barreca, Ernest Hamel, Roberta Bortolozzi, Francesco Bertoni, Eugenio Gaudio, Roberta Rocca, Marilia Barreca, Stefano Alcaro, Pierfrancesco Tassone, Giampietro Viola, Ruoli Bai

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39 Citations (Scopus)


A new class of pyrrolo[2',3':3,4]cyclohepta[1,2-d][1,2]oxazoles was synthesized for the treatment of hyperproliferative pathologies, including neoplasms. The new compounds were screened in the 60 human cancer cell lines of the NCI drug screen and showed potent activity with GI50 values reaching the nanomolar level, with mean graph midpoints of 0.08-0.41 μM. All compounds were further tested on six lymphoma cell lines, and eight showed potent growth inhibitory effects with IC50 values lower than 500 nM. Mechanism of action studies showed the ability of the new [1,2]oxazoles to arrest cells in the G2/M phase in a concentration dependent manner and to induce apoptosis through the mitochondrial pathway. The most active compounds inhibited tubulin polymerization, with IC50 values of 1.9-8.2 μM, and appeared to bind to the colchicine site. The G2/M arrest was accompanied by apoptosis, mitochondrial depolarization, generation of reactive oxygen species, and PARP cleavage.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12023-12042
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Medicinal Chemistry
Publication statusPublished - 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Drug Discovery


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