Novel analogues of lithocholic acid with modifications of the skeleton (7–9, 16–18 and 20) were synthesized. Among these compounds, 7, 9 and 16 were found to have the significant activity against α-2,6-(N)-ST selectively. These analogues could be good pharmacophores for developing new therapeutic agents of cancer metastasis.
In order to identify structural features of lithocholic acid (LCA) critical for inhibition of the enzyme sialyltransferase (ST) novel analogues with modifications of the skeleton (7–9, 16–18 and 20) were designed and synthesized. Methyl 3α-acetoxy-7-oxo-cholanate (1), methyl 3α-acetoxy-12-oxo-cholanate (2) and methyl 3α,7α-diacetoxy-12-oxo-cholanate (3) were subjected to Baeyer-Villiger oxidation to provide homolactones (7–9) or to the Beckmann rearrangement of the corresponding oximes to give homolactams (16–18). Both reactions proceed regio- and stereoselectively. Ring B homolog of lithocholic acid (20) was efficiently synthesized. Among these compounds, 7, 9 and 16 were found to have the significant activity, with IC50 values ≤3 μM against α-2,6-(N)-ST selectively, which are 5-fold lower than that of Lith-O-Asp. Given the reality that LCA and its analogue, Lith-O-Asp, have been revealed to improve inhibitory efficacy of ST and to have a wide range of antimetastatic activities in different human cancer cells, the up-to-date findings have noteworthy pharmacological significance as they open a promising path to the improvement of a prospective molecular targeted application of modified LCA analogues as agents for the treatment of cancer metastasis.