A series of 3,4-diarylpyrazole-1-carboxamide derivatives was designed and synthesized. A selected group of the target compounds was tested for in vitro antiproliferative activities over a panel of 60 cancer cell lines at the National Cancer Institute (NCI, Bethesda, MD, USA) at a single-dose concentration of 10 μm, and the four most active compounds 9a, 9l, 9n, and 10o were further tested in a five-dose testing mode to determine their IC50 values over the 60 cell lines. In addition, a selected group of target compounds were tested for inhibitory effect over cyclooxygenase isozymes. Compounds 9a, 9l, 9n, and 10o were also tested for MEK and ERK kinase inhibitory activity using Western blot assay. Compound 10o was selective toward melanoma cell line subpanel, and its antiproliferative activity may be attributed to selective cyclooxygenase-2 inhibition and ERK pathway inhibition.
Its selectivity towards melanoma subpanel and COX-2 enzyme together with its inhibitory activity towards MEK and ERK kinases make compound 10o a promising lead for future development of potential anticancer agents. Compound 10o might exert its antiproliferative activity against melanoma due to dual inhibition of ERK pathway and COX-2.