Bisphosphonate prodrugs: synthesis and biological evaluation in HuH7 hepatocarcinoma cells

Eur J Med Chem. 2014 Apr 22;77:56-64. doi: 10.1016/j.ejmech.2014.02.054. Epub 2014 Feb 23.


We investigated the biological effects of new synthesized bisphosphonates (BPs) on HuH7 hepatocarcinoma cells. BPs containing p-bromophenyl (R1 = p-Br, Ph, 2) in their side chain were the more potent to inhibit HuH7 cell viability. In addition, phenyl diesterified analogues (R2 = R3 = Ph, 2a) were more potent than methyl (R2 = R3 = Me, 2b) or non-esterified BPs (2) inducing more necrosis suggesting that they better entered into cells. Phosphodiesterase inhibitor (IBMX) reversed the effect of the esterified BPs and not that of non-esterified ones suggesting role of cell phosphodiesterases to release active BPs. BP analogues inhibited HuH7 cell migration but esterified ones had no effect on invasion due to the hiding of phosphonic groups. All together, these results indicated the therapeutic interest of these new BP prodrugs.

Keywords: Bisphosphonates; Hepatocarcinoma; Phosphodiesterase inhibitor (IBMX); Prodrugs.

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / chemical synthesis
  • Antineoplastic Agents / chemistry
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Movement / drug effects
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Diphosphonates / chemical synthesis
  • Diphosphonates / chemistry
  • Diphosphonates / pharmacology*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Screening Assays, Antitumor
  • Humans
  • Molecular Structure
  • Prodrugs / chemical synthesis*
  • Prodrugs / chemistry
  • Prodrugs / pharmacology*
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Diphosphonates
  • Prodrugs