Ring-substituted 1-hydroxynaphthalene-2-carboxanilides were previously investigated for their antimycobacterial properties. In our study, we have shown their antiproliferative and cell death-inducing effects in cancer cell lines. Cell proliferation and viability were assessed by WST-1 assay and a dye exclusion test, respectively. Cell cycle distribution, phosphatidylserine externalization, levels of reactive oxygen or nitrogen species (RONS), mitochondrial membrane depolarization, and release of cytochrome c were estimated by flow cytometry. Levels of regulatory proteins were determined by Western blotting. Our data suggest that the ability to inhibit the proliferation of THP-1 or MCF-7 cells might be referred to meta- or para-substituted derivatives with electron-withdrawing groups -F, -Br, or -CF3 at anilide moiety. This effect was accompanied by accumulation of cells in G1 phase. Compound 10 also induced apoptosis in THP-1 cells in association with a loss of mitochondrial membrane potential and production of mitochondrial superoxide. Our study provides a new insight into the action of salicylanilide derivatives, hydroxynaphthalene carboxamides, in cancer cells. Thus, their structure merits further investigation as a model moiety of new small-molecule compounds with potential anticancer properties.
Keywords: antiproliferative effect; apoptosis; cell cycle; hydroxynaphthalene carboxamides; salicylanilides.