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Steroids are good candidates for drug development, thanks to their low general toxicity and possibility for structure modifications connected with change of their activity. Several 16,17-secoandrost-4-ene-16,17a-dinitrile compounds were synthesized and screened for anticancer effect previously, including 6-oxo and 6-hydroxyimino compounds. This research is continued with the attempts for different synthetic strategy and evaluation of anticancer effect mechanism. Synthesis of 3-hydroxyimino compounds was successful, but inseparable mix of isomers was excluded from biological tests. Tested secodinitriles expressed cytotoxic effect on HeLa cervix cancer cells as a model system, with submicromolar to molar IC50 values, where 6-substituted derivatives were more effective. After 72 h treatment with equitoxic concentrations equal IC50 values of test compounds the mechanism of this effect was studied using flow cytometry and specific fluorescent dyes. Modest change in both G0/G1 and G2/M resting phases and change in mitochondrial membrane potential were noticed, while the most pronounced effect was apoptosis induction. Total apoptosis was in range 50.72–58.31 % in all cell samples treated with secodinitriles, compared to 7.44 % in control samples. Total percent of dead cells, including both apoptotic and necrotic, ranged from 55.24 to 65.34 %, compared to 10.68 % in control. Selectivity towards cancer cells is very important feature of these compounds indicating their potential use as lead compounds in the drug development for the treatment of cancers of steroid hormone-dependent tissues.
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Ministarstvo Prosvete, Nauke i Tehnološkog Razvoja
Grant numbers 451-03-68/2022-14/200125
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