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A series of 4-(N-dithiobenzyl piperazine)-1,8-naphthalimide derivatives 4-6 were designed, synthesized, and evaluated as novel multi-target antitumor agents. 3-(4,5-Dimethyl-2-thiazolyl)-2,5-diphenyl-2-H-tetrazolium bromide (MTT) results showed that compounds 5j, 5k, and 6j exhibited superior in vitro antiproliferative activity in MGC-803, HepG-2, SKOV-3, and T24 cancer cell lines and the cisplatin-resistant cell line A549/DDP. HepG-2, SKOV-3, and T24 xenograft assay results revealed that compounds 5j, 5k, and 6j exhibited good antitumor effects compared with amonafide. The pathology results indicated that compound 5j exhibited the least comprehensive toxicity among the three compounds, identifying compound 5j as a good candidate antitumor agent with good efficacy, limited toxicity, and low resistance. Compound 5j was thus chose for further antitumor mechanism investigation. Results from the omics research, confocal immunofluorescence, Western blot, transmission electron microscopy, and flow cytometry indicated that compound 5j exerted antitumor effects through multiple mechanisms, including ferroptosis, autophagy, apoptosis, and cell cycle arrest. These results suggest that screening novel 1,8-naphthalimide-based antitumor agents for good efficacy, limited toxicity, and low resistance based on a multi-target drug strategy is feasible. Copyright © 2023 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.


Si-Min Liang, Gui-Bin Liang, Hui-Ling Wang, Hong Jiang, Xian-Li Ma, Jian-Hua Wei, Ri-Zhen Huang, Ye Zhang. Discovery of 4-(N-dithiobenzyl piperazine)-1,8-naphthalimide as a potent multi-target antitumor agent with good efficacy, limited toxicity, and low resistance. European journal of medicinal chemistry. 2024 Jan 05;263:115937

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PMID: 37972528

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