Synthesis, Biological Evaluation and In Silico Studies of Certain Oxindole–Indole Conjugates as Anticancer CDK Inhibitors

Al-Warhi, T., A. M. El Kerdawy, N. Aljaeed, O. E. Ismael, R. R. Ayyad, W. M. Eldehna, H. A. Abdel-Aziz, and G. H. Al-Ansary, "Synthesis, Biological Evaluation and In Silico Studies of Certain Oxindole–Indole Conjugates as Anticancer CDK Inhibitors", Molecules, vol. 25, no. 9, 2020.


On account of their overexpression in a wide range of human malignancies, cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs) are among the most validated cancer targets, and their inhibition has been featured as a valuable strategy for anticancer drug discovery. In this study, a hybrid pharmacophore approach was adopted to develop two series of oxindole–indole conjugates (6a–i and 9a–f) and carbocycle–indole conjugates (11a,b) as efficient antitumor agents with potential inhibitory action toward CDK4. All oxindole–indole conjugates, except 6i, 9b, and 9c efficiently affected the growth of the human breast cancer MCF-7 (IC50: 0.39 ± 0.05–21.40 ± 1.58 μM) and/or MDA-MB-231 (IC50: 1.03 ± 0.04–22.54 ± 1.67 μM) cell lines, whereas bioisosteric replacement of the oxindole nucleus with indane or tetralin rings (compounds 11a,b) diminished the anti-proliferative activity. In addition, hybrids 6e and 6f displayed effective cell cycle disturbance and proapoptotic capabilities in MCF-7 cells. Furthermore, the efficient anti-proliferative agents towards MCF-7 and/or MDA-MB-231 cell lines (6a–h, 9a, and 9e) were investigated for their potential inhibitory action toward CDK4. Hybrids 6a and 6e displayed good CDK4 inhibitory activity with IC50s equal 1.82 and 1.26 µM, respectively. The molecular docking study revealed that oxindole moiety is implicated in two H-bonding interactions via both (NH) and (C=O) groups with the key amino acids Glu94 and Val96, respectively, whereas the indole framework is stably accommodated in a hydrophobic sub-pocket establishing hydrophobic interactions with the amino acid residues of Ile12, Val20, and Gln98 lining this sub-pocket. Collectively, these results highlighted hybrids 6a and 6e as good leads for further optimization as promising antitumor drugs toward breast malignancy and CDK inhibitors.



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