Synthesis and antiproliferative evaluation of certain indolo[3,2-c]quinoline derivatives

Chih Ming Lu, Yeh Long Chen, Hui Ling Chen, Chyi An Chen, Pei-Jung Lu, Chia Ning Yang, Cherng Chyi Tzeng

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65 Citations (Scopus)


The present report describes the synthesis and antiproliferative evaluation of certain indolo[3,2-c]quinoline derivatives. For the C6 anilino-substituted derivatives, (11H-indolo[3,2-c]quinolin-6-yl)phenylamine (6a) was inactive. Structural optimization of 6a by the introduction of a hydroxyl group at the anilino-moiety resulted in the enhancement of antiproliferative activity in which the activity decreased in an order of para-OH, 7a > meta-OH, 8a > ortho-OH, 9a. For the C6 alkylamino-substituted derivatives, 11a, 12a, 13a, 14a, and 15a exhibited comparable antiproliferative activities against all cancer cells tested and the skin Detroit 551 normal fibroblast cells. Three cancer cells, HeLa, A549, and SKHep, are very susceptible with IC50 of less than 2.17 μM while PC-3 is relatively resistant to this group of indolo[3,2-c]quinolines. For the 2-phenylethylamino derivatives, compound 20a is active against the growth of HeLa with an IC50 of 0.52 μM, but is less effective against the growth of Detroit 551 with an IC50 of 19.32 μM. For the bis-indolo[3,2-c]quinolines, N,N-bis-[3-(11H-indolo[3,2-c]quinolin-6-yl)aminopropyl]amine hydrochloride (25) is more active than its N-methyl derivative 26 and the positive Doxorubicin. Mechanism studies indicated 25 can induce caspase-3 activation, γ-H2AX phosphorylation, cleavage of poly(ADP-ribose)polymerase and DNA fragmentation. These results provide evidence that DNA, topo I, and topo II are the primary targets of indolo[3,2-c]quinoline derivatives and that consequently inhibits proliferation and causes apoptosis in cancer cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1948-1957
Number of pages10
JournalBioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Mar 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


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