Design, synthesis, and antitumor activity of novel dispiro[oxindole-cyclohexanone]-pyrrolidines

Magy Gouda, Majed Bawzeer, Lamees Hegazy, Mohamed Azab, Mohamed Elagawany, Mostafa Rateb, Mohammed Yaseen, Bahaa Elgendy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Spirooxindoles are privileged scaffolds in medicinal chemistry and were identified through Wang’s pioneering work as inhibitors of MDM2−p53 interactions.

Objective: To design and synthesize 2,6-diarylidenecyclohexanones and dispiro[oxindole-cyclohexanone]-pyrrolidines of potential antitumor effect.

Method: Dispiro[oxindole-cyclohexanone]-pyrrolidines 6a-h were synthesized in a regioselective manner via 1,3-dipolar cycloaddition reaction of 2,6-diarylidenecyclohexanones 3a-h, isatin, and sarcocine. Compounds 6a-h were alkylated to give (7-10) a,b. All compounds were evaluated in vitro for their antitumor activity and cytotoxic selectivity against breast cancer cell lines (MCF-7, and MDA-MB-231), breast fibrosis cell line (MCF10a) and placental cancer cell line (JEG-3). Molecular modeling inside the MDM2 binding site was performed using AutoDock4.2.

Results: Synthesized compounds showed antitumor activity comparable to tamoxifen, and compounds 3a,b,f,g, and 9a,b showed selective cytotoxicity against tumor cells but reduced toxicity toward MCF-10a cells. Molecular modelling shows that both classes of synthesized compounds are predicted to fit the deep hydrophobic cleft on the surface of MDM2 and mimic the interactions between p53 and MDM2.

Conclusion: The synthesized compounds have antitumor activity against MCF-7, MDA-MB-231, and JEG-3. Few compounds showed a selective cytotoxic effect and may have the potential to inhibit MDM2 and stimulate p53. Future medicinal chemistry optimization and mechanistic study will be conducted to enhance the inhibition effect of identified compounds and elucidate their mechanism of action.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCurrent Pharmaceutical Design
Early online date25 Jun 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Jun 2021


  • spiro-oxindoles
  • diarylidenecyclohexanones
  • 1
  • 3-dipolar cycloaddition reactions
  • antitumor
  • molecular modeling
  • MDM2
  • p53


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