Organometallic Antitumor Compounds: Ferrocifens as Precursors to Quinone Methides
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The synthesis and chemical oxidation profile of a new generation of ferrocifen derivatives with strong antiproliferative behavior in vitro is reported. In particular, the hydroxypropyl derivative HO(CH2 )3 C(Fc)=C(C6 H4 OH)2 (3 b) exhibited exceptional antiproliferative activity against the cancer cell lines HepG2 and MDA-MB-231 TNBC, with IC50 values of 0.07 and 0.11 μM, respectively. Chemical oxidation of 3 b yielded an unprecedented tetrahydrofuran-substituted quinone methide (QM) via internal cyclization of the hydroxyalkyl chain, whereas the corresponding alkyl analogue CH3 CH2 -C(Fc)=C(C6 H4 OH)2 merely formed a vinyl QM. The ferrocenyl group in 3 b plays a key role, not only as an intramolecular reversible redox "antenna", but also as a stabilized carbenium ion "modulator". The presence of the oxygen heterocycle in 3 b-QM enhances its stability and leads to a unique chemical oxidation profile, thus revealing crucial clues for deciphering its mechanism of action in vivo.
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