The syntheses and antiproliferative activities of novel substituted tetrahydroisoquinoline derivatives and their sulfamates are discussed. Biasing of conformational populations through substitution on the tetrahydroisoquinoline core at C1 and C3 has a profound effect on the antiproliferative activity against various cancer cell lines. The C3 methyl-substituted sulfamate (±)-7-methoxy-2-(3-methoxybenzyl)-3-methyl-6-sulfamoyloxy-1,2,3,4-tetrahydroisoquinoline (6 b), for example, was found to be ∼10-fold more potent than the corresponding non-methylated compound 7-methoxy-2-(3-methoxybenzyl)-6-sulfamoyloxy-1,2,3,4-tetrahydroisoquinoline (4 b) against DU-145 prostate cancer cells (GI50 values: 220 nM and 2.1 μM, respectively). Such compounds were also found to be active against a drug-resistant MCF breast cancer cell line. The position and nature of substitution of the N-benzyl group in the C3-substituted series was found to have a significant effect on activity. Whereas C1 methylation has little effect on activity, introduction of C1 phenyl and C3-gem-dimethyl substituents greatly decreases antiproliferative activity. The ability of these compounds to inhibit microtubule polymerisation and to bind tubulin in a competitive manner versus colchicine confirms the mechanism of action. The therapeutic potential of a representative compound was confirmed in an in vivo multiple myeloma xenograft study.
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colchicine, microtubules, steric repulsion, tetrahydroisoquinolines, tubulin, Animals, Antineoplastic Agents, Cell Line, Tumor, Cell Proliferation, Colchicine, Female, Humans, Male, Mice, Mice, Nude, Multiple Myeloma, Neoplasms, Stereoisomerism, Structure-Activity Relationship, Tetrahydroisoquinolines, Tubulin, Tubulin Modulators