Multidrug resistance (MDR) in cancer is a phenomenon in which administration of a single chemotherapeutic agent causes cross-resistance of cancer cells to a variety of therapies even with different mechanisms of action. Development of MDR against standard therapies is a major challenge in the treatment of cancer. Previously we have demonstrated a unique ability of CXL017 (5) to selectively target MDR cancer cells and synergize with mitoxantrone (MX) in HL60/MX2 MDR cells. Here we expand its scope and demonstrate that 5 can synergize with both vincristine and paclitaxel in three different MDR cell lines (HL60/DNR, K562/HHT300, and CCRF-CEM/VLB100). We also demonstrate that 5 has potent cytotoxicity in the NCI-60 panel of cell lines with an average IC(50) of 1.04 μM. In addition, 5 has a unique mechanism of action in comparison with standard agents in the NCI database based on COMPARE analysis. Further structure-activity relationship study led to the development of a more potent analogue, compound 7d, with an IC(50) of 640 nM in HL60/MX2. Additionally, one enantiomer of 5 is 13-fold more active than the less active enantiomer. Taken together, our study has led to the discovery of a series of analogues that selectively target drug-resistant cancer cells with the potential for the treatment of drug-resistant cancers.
© 2011 American Chemical Society