New 6- (or 6,7-) substituted 2-(hydroxyl substituted phenyl)quinolin-4-one derivatives were synthesized and screened for antiproliferative effects against cancer cell lines. Structure-activity relationship correlations were established and the most promising compound 2-(3-hydroxy-5-methoxyphenyl)-6-pyrrolidin-1- ylquinolin-4-one (6h) exhibited strong inhibitory activity against various human cancer cell lines, particularly non-small cell lung cancer NCI-H522. Additional studies suggested a mechanism of action resembling that of the antimitotic drug vincristine. The presence of a C-ring OH group in 6h will allow this compound to be converted readily to a water soluble and physicochemically stable hydrophilic prodrug. Compound 6h is proposed as a new anticancer lead compound.
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