A new family of molecular hybrids, between cyclolignans related to podophyllic aldehyde and several diterpenylnaphthohydroquinones (DNHQ), was prepared and its biological activity evaluated in several human solid tumor cell lines, which are representative of the most prevalent solid tumors in the Western world. Both cyclolignan and quinone fragments were linked through aliphatic or aromatic spacers. The new hybrid family was evaluated for its cytotoxicity, and it was found that the hybrids were several times more potent against the osteosarcoma cell line MG-63 than against MCF-7 and HT-29 cell lines. The presence of an aromatic ring in the linker gave the most potent and selective agent, improving the cytotoxicity of the parent compounds. Cell cycle studies demonstrated that this hybrid induces a strong and rapid apoptotic effect and arrests cells at the G2/M phase of the cell cycle, in the same way that the parent compound podophyllic aldehyde does.
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