Potent anti-proliferative activities of organochalcogenocyanates towards breast cancer
The pharmacological importance, particularly the anti-cancer and chemopreventive potentials, of organochalcogen compounds has attracted wide research attention recently. Herein we describe the synthesis of a series of organochalcogenocyanates that have one or more selenocyanate or thiocyanate units in a single molecule. The anti-proliferative activity of these organochalcogenocyanates in different breast cancer cells shows that selenocyanates exhibit much higher anti-proliferative activities than thiocyanates in general. Our study reveals that the activity of benzyl selenocyanate (1, BSC) could be significantly enhanced by 4-nitro substitution (12), which was more selective towards triple-negative breast cancer cells (MDA-MB-231) over other ER+ breast cancer cells (MCF-7 and T-47D). Furthermore, to the best of our knowledge, this is the first report on the synthesis of compounds having more than two selenocyanate units with promising anti-proliferative activities. Our studies further indicate that the apoptotic activities of selenocyanates are associated with modulation of cellular morphology and cell cycle arrest at S-phase. Selenocyanates also inhibited cellular migration and exhibited weak antioxidant activities. An effective binding interaction of compound 12 with serum albumin indicates its feasible transport in the bloodstream for its enhanced anti-cancer properties. Mechanistic studies by western blot analysis demonstrate that benzylic selenocyanates exhibit anti-proliferative activities by modulating key cellular proteins such as Survivin, Bcl-2 and COX-2; this was further supported by molecular docking studies. The results of this study would be helpful in designing suitable chemotherapeutic and chemopreventive drugs in the future.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Chemical biology in OBC