Investigational new drugs vol:1 issue:2 pages:103-15
A series of 96 diarylamidine (and diarylimidazoline) derivatives were evaluated for their inhibitory effects on the growth and DNA synthesis of murine leukemia L1210 cells. The amidino- and imidazolino-substituted aryl moieties of the compounds consisted of phenyl, indole, indene, benzofuran, benzo[b]thiophene or benzimidazole. Several of these compounds were found to inhibit L1210 cell proliferation with an ID50 (50% inhibitory dose) of 1 microgram/ml or lower. Structure-function analysis revealed that the antitumor cell activity of the diarylamidines depended on the planarity of the molecule, the presence of amidino- (or, preferably, imidazolino-) groups on both aryl moieties, the nature of the bridge connecting the two aryl moieties (preferably no bridge at all, phenoxy or ethene) and, finally, the nature of the aryl moieties (preferably, benzofuran or benzo[b]thiophene). Hence, compound 20 (6-(2-imidazolin-2-yl)-2-[4-(2-imidazolin-2-yl)phenyl] benzo[b]thiophene) emerged as the most potent inhibitor of L1210 cell growth (ID50: 0.21 micrograms/ml). Its inhibitory potency was similar to that of the well-known trypanocidal drug ethidium bromide (compound 98). For all diarylamidine derivatives taken together, some correlation (r = 0.612) was noted between the log ID50 for L1210 cell proliferation and the log ID50 for L1210 cell DNA synthesis (as monitored by [methyl-3H]dThd incorporation). These findings suggest that the inhibitory effects of the diarylamidines on L1210 cell proliferation may at least partially reside in an inhibition of DNA synthesis. Compound 41 (2,2'-vinylenedi-1-benzofuran-5-carboxamidine), that exhibited a potent antitumor activity in vitro (ID50: 1.5 micrograms/ml), was further evaluated for its antitumor efficacy in vivo and found to increase the median survival time of L1210 cell-inoculated BDF1 mice up to 204%, if administered at a dose of 200 mg/kg.