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1. NATURAL SCIENCES, 1.6 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES, Biochemistry and molecular biology

Publication Details

Oncology Reports, 2012, Vol. 29, Issue 6, Pages 2451-2458



In recent years an extensive series of synthetic combretastatin A-4 (CA-4)-azetidinone (β-lactam) hybrids were designed and synthesised with a view to improve the stability, therapeutic efficacy and aqueous solubility of CA-4. Lead compounds containing a 3,4,5-trimethoxy aromatic ring at position 1 and a variety of substitution patterns at positions 3 and 4 of the β-lactam ring were screened in three adenocarcinoma-derived colon cancer cell lines (CT-26, Caco-2 and the CA-4 resistant cell line, HT-29). In both CT-26 and Caco-2 cells all β-lactam analogues analysed displayed potent therapeutic efficacy within the nanomolar range. Substitution of the ethylene bridge of CA-4 with the β-lactam ring together with the aforementioned aryl substitutions improved the therapeutic efficacy of CA-4 up to 300‑fold in the combretastatin refractory HT-29 cells. The lead compound combretazet-3 (CAZ-3); chemical name [4-(3-hydroxy-4-methoxyphenyl)-3-(4-hydroxyphenyl)-1-(3,4,5-trimethoxyphenyl)azetidin-2-one] demonstrated improved chemical stability together with enhanced therapeutic efficacy as compared with CA-4 whilst maintaining the natural biological properties of CA-4. Furthermore, CAZ-3 demonstrated significant tumour inhibition in a murine model of colon cancer. Our results suggest that combretastatin-azetidinone hybrids represent an effective novel therapy for the treatment of combretastatin resistant carcinomas.