A series of diversely asymmetrical mono- or disubstituted 1,2-diamidoanthraquinone derivatives were synthesized and evaluated for drug-induced cytotoxicity by SRB assay, telomerase inhibitory activity by TRAP assay, and hTERT expression by SEAP assay. Interestingly, compounds 4, 11, 21, 32 and 36 exhibited selective potent antiproliferative activities by NCI with IC 50 values in the micromolar range. Of these, only compound 8 showed an IC 50 value of 0.95 μM against PC-3 cell lines (human prostate cancer) by SRB assay. All the synthesized compounds exhibited a poor or modest telomerase inhibitory activity by TRAP assay suggesting another mode of action for these compounds. Compound 11 showed broad inhibition against different types of cancer cell lines in the micromolar and submicromolar range.
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