Optimization of 6,7-disubstituted-4-(arylamino)quinoline-3-carbonitriles as orally active, irreversible inhibitors of human epidermal growth factor receptor-2 kinase activity

J Med Chem. 2005 Feb 24;48(4):1107-31. doi: 10.1021/jm040159c.


A series of new 6,7-disubstituted-4-(arylamino)quinoline-3-carbonitrile derivatives that function as irreversible inhibitors of human epidermal growth factor receptor-2 (HER-2) and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) kinases have been prepared. These compounds demonstrated enhanced activities for inhibiting HER-2 kinase and the growth of HER-2 positive cells compared to our EGFR kinase inhibitor 86 (EKB-569). Three synthetic routes were used to prepare these compounds. They were prepared mostly by acylation of 6-amino-4-(arylamino)quinoline-3-carbonitriles with unsaturated acid chlorides or by amination of 4-chloro-6-(crotonamido)quinoline-3-carbonitriles with monocyclic or bicyclic anilines. The third route was developed to prepare a key intermediate, 6-acetamido-4-chloroquinoline-3-carbonitrile, that involved a safer cyclization step. We show that attaching a large lipophilic group at the para position of the 4-(arylamino) ring results in improved potency for inhibiting HER-2 kinase. We also show the importance of a basic dialkylamino group at the end of the Michael acceptor for activity, due to intramolecular catalysis of the Michael addition. This, along with improved water solubility, resulted in compounds with enhanced biological properties. We present molecular modeling results consistent with the proposed mechanism of inhibition. Binding studies of one compound, 25o (C-14 radiolabeled), showed that it binds irreversibly to HER-2 protein in BT474 cells. Furthermore, it demonstrated excellent oral activity, especially in HER-2 overexpressing xenografts. Compound 25o (HKI-272) was selected for further studies and is currently in phase I clinical trials for the treatment of cancer.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / chemical synthesis*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / chemistry
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Binding Sites
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Drug Screening Assays, Antitumor
  • ErbB Receptors / antagonists & inhibitors
  • ErbB Receptors / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Models, Molecular
  • Nitriles / chemical synthesis*
  • Nitriles / chemistry
  • Nitriles / pharmacology
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein Binding
  • Quinolines / chemical synthesis*
  • Quinolines / chemistry
  • Quinolines / pharmacology
  • Radioligand Assay
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / metabolism
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Transplantation, Heterologous


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Nitriles
  • Quinolines
  • ErbB Receptors
  • Receptor, ErbB-2
  • neratinib