Structure-Activity Relationship of Purine and Pyrimidine Nucleotides as Ecto-5'-Nucleotidase (CD73) Inhibitors

J Med Chem. 2019 Apr 11;62(7):3677-3695. doi: 10.1021/acs.jmedchem.9b00164. Epub 2019 Mar 21.


Cluster of differentiation 73 (CD73) converts adenosine 5'-monophosphate to immunosuppressive adenosine, and its inhibition was proposed as a new strategy for cancer treatment. We synthesized 5'- O-[(phosphonomethyl)phosphonic acid] derivatives of purine and pyrimidine nucleosides, which represent nucleoside diphosphate analogues, and compared their CD73 inhibitory potencies. In the adenine series, most ribose modifications and 1-deaza and 3-deaza were detrimental, but 7-deaza was tolerated. Uracil substitution with N3-methyl, but not larger groups, or 2-thio, was tolerated. 1,2-Diphosphono-ethyl modifications were not tolerated. N4-(Aryl)alkyloxy-cytosine derivatives, especially with bulky benzyloxy substituents, showed increased potency. Among the most potent inhibitors were the 5'- O-[(phosphonomethyl)phosphonic acid] derivatives of 5-fluorouridine (4l), N4-benzoyl-cytidine (7f), N4-[ O-(4-benzyloxy)]-cytidine (9h), and N4-[ O-(4-naphth-2-ylmethyloxy)]-cytidine (9e) ( Ki values 5-10 nM at human CD73). Selected compounds tested at the two uridine diphosphate-activated P2Y receptor subtypes showed high CD73 selectivity, especially those with large nucleobase substituents. These nucleotide analogues are among the most potent CD73 inhibitors reported and may be considered for development as parenteral drugs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 5'-Nucleotidase / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Animals
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / chemistry*
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • GPI-Linked Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Humans
  • Purine Nucleotides / chemistry*
  • Purine Nucleotides / pharmacology*
  • Pyrimidine Nucleotides / chemistry*
  • Pyrimidine Nucleotides / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • GPI-Linked Proteins
  • Purine Nucleotides
  • Pyrimidine Nucleotides
  • 5'-Nucleotidase
  • NT5E protein, human