Biphenylurea/thiourea derivatives tagged with heteroarylsulfonamide motifs as novel VEGFR2 inhibitors; Design, synthesis and anti-angiogenic activity


Anti-angiogenesis targeting vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR2) has emerged as a vital tool for cancer treatment. In this study, a new series of biphenylurea/thiourea derivatives tagged with heteroarylsulfonamide motifs (3a-l) was designed and synthesized as novel VEGFR2 inhibitors. The biochemical profiles of the target compounds were investigated using viability of human umbilical vascular endothelial cells (HUVECs), migration assay and Western blot using sorafenib as reference antiangiogenic drug. Most of the tested compounds exhibited significant antiproliferative activity against HUVECs, where compounds 3a, 3e, 3g, 3h and 3l exhibited better antiproliferative activity than sorafenib. All compounds significantly inhibited VEGF stimulated migration of HUVECs at 10 µM dose with (3a, 3e, 3g, 3h and 3l) showing better or comparable inhibitory activities to that of sorafenib. Moreover, Western blotting analysis confirmed antiangiogenic effect of those compounds with significant reduction in the level of VEGFR-2 compared to sorafenib. Finally, cytotoxicity screening of these derivatives against four cancer cells and RPE1 as normal cell line was performed. The mechanistic effectiveness in cell cycle progression and apoptotic induction were evaluated for the promising compound 3e due to its remarkable cytotoxic activity against tested cancer cell lines and significant VEGFR-2 inhibition. Flow cytometric analysis showed that compound 3e induced cell growth arrest at G2/M phase and stimulated the apoptotic death of HepG2 cells.

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