Human carbonic anhydrase (CA) IX has emerged as a promising anticancer target and a diagnostic biomarker for solid hypoxic tumors. Novel fluorinated CA IX inhibitors exhibited up to 50 pM affinity towards the recombinant human CA IX, selectivity over other CAs, and direct binding to Zn(II) in the active site of CA IX inducing novel conformational changes as determined by X-ray crystallography. Mass spectrometric gas-analysis confirmed the CA IX-based mechanism of the inhibitors in a CRISPR/Cas9-mediated CA IX knockout in HeLa cells. Hypoxia-induced extracellular acidification was significantly reduced in HeLa, H460, MDA-MB-231, and A549 cells exposed to the compounds, with the IC50 values up to 1.29 nM. A decreased clonogenic survival was observed when hypoxic H460 3D spheroids were incubated with our lead compound. These novel compounds are therefore promising agents for CA IX-specific therapy.
Keywords: cancer; carbonic anhydrase IX; drug design; hypoxia; sulfonamide.