Anti-angiogenic effects of novel cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors with a pyrazolo[4,3-d]pyrimidine scaffold

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Background and Purpose

Cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (CDK5) has recently emerged as an attractive target in several tumour entities. Inhibition of CDK5 has been shown to have anti-angiogenic effects in vitro and in vivo. However, potent inhibitors of CDK5, which can be applied in vivo, are still scarce. We have recently developed a new series of 5-substituted 3-isopropyl-7-[4-(2-pyridyl)benzyl]amino-1(2)H-pyrazolo[4,3-d]pyrimidines that show a preference for inhibiting CDK5 and tested them in vitro and in vivo in a murine model of hepatocellular carcinoma.

Experimental Approach

All compounds were initially examined for effects on proliferation of HUVECs. The most potent compounds were then tested on migration, and one of them, LGR2674, was selected for assessing effects on nuclear fragmentation, cell cycle, cell viability and metabolic activity. Furthermore, LGR2674 was tested in a tube formation assay and in vivo in a murine model of hepatocellular carcinoma, induced by s.c. injection of HUH7 cells (measurement of in vivo toxicity, tumour vascularization, tumour cell proliferation and tumour size).

Key Results

LGR2674 showed an EC50 in the low nanomolar range in the proliferation and migration assays. Cytotoxic effects started at 50 nM, a concentration that did not influence the cell cycle. In vivo, LGR2674 was well tolerated and caused a clear reduction in vessel density in the tumours; also tumour cell proliferation was inhibited and tumour growth retarded.

Conclusions and Implications

Pyrazolo[4,3-d]pyrimidine is a novel scaffold for the development of potent CDK inhibitors with in vivo potential. Such structures are good candidates for broadening our pharmacological arsenal against various tumours.

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