Optimization of a Benzoylpiperidine Class Identifies a Highly Potent and Selective Reversible Monoacylglycerol Lipase (MAGL) Inhibitor

J Med Chem. 2019 Feb 28;62(4):1932-1958. doi: 10.1021/acs.jmedchem.8b01483. Epub 2019 Feb 11.


Monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL) is the enzyme degrading the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol, and it is involved in several physiological and pathological processes. The therapeutic potential of MAGL is linked to several diseases, including cancer. The development of MAGL inhibitors has been greatly limited by the side effects associated with the prolonged MAGL inactivation. Importantly, it could be preferable to use reversible MAGL inhibitors in vivo, but nowadays only few reversible compounds have been developed. In the present study, structural optimization of a previously developed class of MAGL inhibitors led to the identification of compound 23, which proved to be a very potent reversible MAGL inhibitor (IC50 = 80 nM), selective for MAGL over the other main components of the endocannabinoid system, endowed of a promising antiproliferative activity in a series of cancer cell lines and able to block MAGL both in cell-based as well as in vivo assays.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / chemical synthesis
  • Antineoplastic Agents / metabolism
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Catalytic Domain
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Drug Design
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / chemical synthesis
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / metabolism
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Molecular Docking Simulation
  • Molecular Dynamics Simulation
  • Molecular Structure
  • Monoacylglycerol Lipases / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Monoacylglycerol Lipases / metabolism
  • Piperidines / chemical synthesis
  • Piperidines / metabolism
  • Piperidines / pharmacology*
  • Protein Binding
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Piperidines
  • Monoacylglycerol Lipases