Structure-activity studies on N -Substituted tranylcypromine derivatives lead to selective inhibitors of lysine specific demethylase 1 (LSD1) and potent inducers of leukemic cell differentiation
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FAD-dependent lysine-specific demethylase 1 (LSD1) is overexpressed or deregulated in many cancers such as AML and prostate cancer and hence is a promising anticancer target with first inhibitors in clinical trials. Clinical candidates are N-substituted derivatives of the dual LSD1-/monoamine oxidase-inhibitor tranylcypromine (2-PCPA) with a basic amine function in the N-substituent. These derivatives are selective over monoamine oxidases. So far, only very limited information on structure-activity studies about this important class of LSD1 inhibitors is published in peer reviewed journals. Here, we show that N-substituted 2-PCPA derivatives without a basic function or even a polar group are still potent inhibitors of LSD1 in vitro and effectively inhibit colony formation of leukemic cells in culture. Yet, these lipophilic inhibitors also block the structurally related monoamine oxidases (MAO-A and MAO-B), which may be of interest for the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders, but this property is undesired for applications in cancer treatment. The introduction of a polar, non-basic function led to optimized structures that retain potent LSD1 inhibitors but exhibit selectivity over MAOs and are highly potent in the suppression of colony formation of cultured leukemic cells. Cellular target engagement is shown via a Cellular Thermal Shift Assay (CETSA) for LSD1.
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