Synthesis and SAR Study of Anticancer Protoflavone Derivatives: Investigation of Cytotoxicity and Interaction with ABCB1 and ABCG2 Multidrug Efflux Transporters

Balázs Dankó, Szilárd Tóth, Ana Martins, Máté Vágvölgyi, Norbert Kúsz, Joseph Molnár, Fang Rong Chang, Yang Chang Wu, Gergely Szakács, Attila Hunyadi

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7 Citations (Scopus)


There is a constant need for new therapies against multidrug-resistant (MDR) cancer. Natural compounds are a promising source of novel anticancer agents. We recently showed that protoflavones display activity in MDR cancer cell lines that overexpress the P-glycoprotein (P-gp) drug efflux pump. In this study, 52 protoflavones, including 22 new derivatives, were synthesized and tested against a panel of drug-sensitive parental cells and their MDR derivatives obtained by transfection with the human ABCB1 or ABCG2 genes, or by adaptation to chemotherapeutics. With the exception of protoapigenone, identified as a weak ABCG2 substrate, all protoflavones bypass resistance conferred by these two transporters. The majority of the compounds were found to exhibit mild to strong (up to 13-fold) selectivity against the MCF-7Dox and KB-V1 cell lines, but not to transfected MDR cells engineered to overexpress the MDR transporters. Our results suggest that protoflavones can overcome MDR cancer by evading P-gp-mediated efflux.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)850-859
Number of pages10
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2017



  • MDR cancer
  • P-glycoprotein
  • collateral sensitivity
  • cross-resistance
  • protoflavones

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)
  • Organic Chemistry

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