Characterization of novel diaryl oxazole-based compounds as potential agents to treat pancreatic cancer

Arthur Y. Shaw, Meredith C. Henderson, Gary Flynn, Betty Samulitis, Haiyong Han, Steve P. Stratton, H. H.Sherry Chow, Laurence H. Hurley, Robert T. Dorr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


A series of diaryl- and fluorenone-based analogs of the lead compound UA-62784 [4-(5-(4-methoxyphenyl)oxazol-2-yl)-9H-fluoren-9-one] was synthesized with the intention of improving upon the selective cytotoxicity of UA-62784 against human pancreatic cancer cell lines with a deletion of the tumor suppressor gene deleted in pancreas cancer locus 4 (DPC-4, SMAD-4). Over 80 analogs were synthesized and tested for antitumor activity against pancreatic cancer (PC) cell lines (the PC series). Despite a structural relationship to UA-62784, which inhibits the mitotic kinesin centromere protein E (CENP-E), none of the analogs was selective for DPC-4-deleted pancreatic cancer cell lines. Furthermore, none of the analogs was a potent or selective inhibitor of four different mitotic kinesins (mitotic kinesin-5, CENP-E, mitotic kinesin-like protein-1, and mitotic centromere-associated kinesin). Therefore, other potential mechanisms of action were evaluated. A diaryl oxazole lead analog from this series, PC-046 [5-(4-methoxyphenyl)-2-(3-(3-methoxyphenyl)pyridin-4-yl) oxazole], was shown to potently inhibit several protein kinases that are overexpressed in human pancreatic cancers, including tyrosine receptor kinase B, interleukin-1 receptor-associated kinase-4, and proto-oncogene Pim-1. Cells exposed to PC-046 exhibit a cell cycle block in the S-phase followed by apoptotic death and necrosis. PC-046 effectively reduced MiaPaca-2 tumor growth in severe combined immunodeficiency mice by 80% compared with untreated controls. The plasma half-life was 7.5 h, and cytotoxic drug concentrations of >3 μM were achieved in vivo in mice. The diaryl oxazole series of compounds represent a new chemical class of anticancer agents that inhibit several types of cancer-relevant protein kinases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)636-647
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology


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