A SAR translation strategy adopted for the discovery of tetrahydroisoquinolinone (THIQ)-based steroidomimetic microtubule disruptors has been extended to dihydroisoquinolinone (DHIQ)-based compounds. A steroid A,B-ring-mimicking DHIQ core was connected to methoxyaryl D-ring mimics through methylene, carbonyl, and sulfonyl linkers, and the resulting compounds were evaluated against two cancer cell lines. The carbonyl-linked DHIQs in particular exhibit significant in vitro antiproliferative activities (e.g., 6-hydroxy-7-methoxy-2-(3,4,5-trimethoxybenzoyl)-3,4-dihydroisoquinolin-1(2H)-one (16 g): GI50 51 nM in DU-145 cells). The broad anticancer activity of DHIQ 16 g was confirmed in the NCI 60-cell line assay giving a mean activity of 33 nM. Furthermore, 6-hydroxy-2-(3,5-dimethoxybenzoyl)-7-methoxy-3,4-dihydroisoquinolin-1(2H)-one (16 f) and 16 g and their sulfamate derivatives 17 f and 17 g (2-(3,5-dimethoxybenzoyl)-7-methoxy-6-sulfamoyloxy-3,4-dihydroisoquinolin-1(2H)-one and 7-methoxy-2-(3,4,5-trimethoxybenzoyl)-6-sulfamoyloxy-3,4-dihydroisoquinolin-1(2H)-one, respectively) show excellent activity against the polymerization of tubulin, close to that of the clinical combretastatin A-4, and bind competitively at the colchicine binding site of tubulin. Compounds 16 f and 17 f were also shown to demonstrate in vitro anti-angiogenic activity. Additionally, X-ray and computational analyses of 17 f reveal that electrostatic repulsion between the two adjacent carbonyl groups, through conformational biasing, dictates the adoption of a "steroid-like" conformation that may partially explain the excellent in vitro activities.
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colchicine, dihydroisoquinolinones, electrostatic repulsion, microtubules, tubulin, Antineoplastic Agents, Cell Line, Tumor, Cell Proliferation, Dose-Response Relationship, Drug, Drug Screening Assays, Antitumor, Humans, Isoquinolines, Models, Molecular, Molecular Structure, Structure-Activity Relationship