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Synthesis and Antimelanoma Activity of Tertiary Amide Analogues of N-Acetyl-4-S-cysteaminylphenol

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The biosynthetic pathway to melanin is a realistic target for therapeutic intervention in the development of new drugs to combat malignant melanoma. N-Acetyl-4-S-cysteaminylphenol (1) is an analogue of a biosynthetic intermediate in the pathway to melanin. It probably acts as a prodrug and is oxidized selectively in melanocytes to an o-quinone, which can alkylate cellular nucleophiles resulting in interference with cell growth and proliferation. We previously synthesized a range of more lipophilic analogues of 1 by varying the acyl portion and introducing substitution α to the nitrogen. Most of the new compounds displayed greater cytotoxicity than the original lead compound 1. We have now prepared 12 new compounds with varying acyl portions and three different substituents on the nitrogen of the amide in order to increase lipophilicity and to reduce the possibility of hydrolysis of the amides. Most of the tertiary amides showed greater cytotoxicity towards five representative melanoma cell lines than the parent secondary amide. The highest cytotoxicity, comparable to cisplatin, was observed for the benzyl substituted compounds 4, 8, 12, and 16 and the cyclohexylacetamide derivatives 13–15 against these five cell lines. The moderate activity of 13–16 against SK-Mel-24 (non-tyrosinase containing) and an ovarian cell line suggests that interference with the melanin pathway may not be the only mode of action of these new compounds.

Keywords: Amide; Antimelanoma; Cysteaminylphenol; Tyrosinase

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: *Department of Chemistry, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK 2: †Cancer Research UK Centre for Cancer Therapeutics, Institute of Cancer Research, Haddow Laboratories, 15 Cotswold Road, Belmont, Sutton, Surrey SM2 5NG, UK 3: ‡Antisoma plc, St Georges Hospital Medical School, Cranmer Terrace, London SW17 0QS, UK

Publication date: 2003-01-01

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