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Initial development of a cytotoxic amino-seco-CBI warhead for delivery by prodrug systems

Twum, E.A., Nathubhai, Amit, Wood, P.J., Lloyd, M.D., Thompson, A.S. and Threadgill, M.D. (2015) Initial development of a cytotoxic amino-seco-CBI warhead for delivery by prodrug systems. Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry, 23. pp. 3481-3489. ISSN 0968-0896

Item Type: Article


Cyclopropabenzaindoles (CBIs) are exquisitely potent cytotoxins which bind and alkylate in the minor
groove of DNA. They are not selective for cancer cells, so prodrugs are required. CBIs can be formed at
physiological pH by Winstein cyclisation of 1-chloromethyl-3-substituted-5-hydroxy-2,3-dihydrobenzo[
e]indoles (5-OH-seco-CBIs). Corresponding 5-NH2-seco-CBIs should also undergo Winstein cyclisation
similarly. A key triply orthogonally protected intermediate on the route to 5-NH2-seco-CBIs has been
synthesised, via selective monotrifluoroacetylation of naphthalene-1,3-diamine, Boc protection, electrophilic
iodination, selective allylation at the trifluoroacetamide and 5-exo radical ring-closure with
TEMPO. This intermediate has potential for introduction of peptide prodrug masking units (deactivating
the Winstein cyclisation and cytotoxicity), addition of diverse indole-amide side-chains (enhancing noncovalent
binding prior to alkylation) and use of different leaving groups (replacing the usual chlorine, allowing tuning of the rate of Winstein cyclisation). This key intermediate was elaborated into a simple model 5-NH2-seco-CBI with a dimethylaminoethoxyindole side-chain. Conversion to a bio-reactive entity and the bioactivity of this system were confirmed through DNA-melting studies (DTm = 13 �C) and cytotoxicity against LNCaP human prostate cancer cells (IC50 = 18 nM).

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Depositing User: Amit Nathubhai


Item ID: 9789
Identification Number:
ISSN: 0968-0896
Official URL:

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Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 10 Aug 2018 08:52
Last Modified: 18 Dec 2019 16:07


Author: E.A. Twum
Author: Amit Nathubhai
Author: P.J. Wood
Author: M.D. Lloyd
Author: A.S. Thompson
Author: M.D. Threadgill

University Divisions

Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing
Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing > School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences


Sciences > Chemistry

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