Two series of anhydride modified cantharidin analogues were synthesised and screened for their phosphatase inhibition (PP1 and PP2A) and cytotoxicity in various cancer cell lines (Ovarian A2780, ADDP; Osteosarcoma 143B; and Colon HCT116 and HT29). One series was synthesised by a novel, high yielding one-pot hydrogenation-ring-opening-esterification procedure, the other by acid catalysed acetal formation. Analogues 5-7 and 9 displayed moderate PP2A selectivity (ca. 5- to 20-fold) and inhibition typically in the low microM range (comparable, in some cases to cantharidin). The anticancer activity of these analogues varied with the cell line under study; however, many of them showed selective cytotoxicity for the colon tumour cell lines.