Rational design of metabolically stable HDAC inhibitors: An overhaul of trifluoromethyl ketones Article (Faculty180)

cited authors

  • Riddhidev, Banerjee; Endri, Karaj; Sabitri, Lamichhane; Kotsull Lauren, N; Nishanth, Kuganesan; Dragan, Isailovic; Mary Kay H, Pflum; James, Slama; William, Taylor; L M Viranga, Tillekeratne


  • Epigenetic regulation of gene expression using histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors is a promising strategy for developing new anticancer agents. The most common HDAC inhibitors are hydroxamates, which, though highly potent, have limitations due to their poor pharmacokinetic properties and lack of isoform selectivity. Trifluoromethylketones (TFMK) developed as alternatives to hydroxamates are rapidly metabolized to inactive trifluoromethyl alcohols in vivo, which prevented their further development as potential drug candidates. In order to overcome this limitation, we designed trifluoropyruvamides (TFPAs) as TFMK surrogates. The presence of an additional electron withdrawing group next to the ketone carbonyl group made the hydrate form of the ketone more stable, thus preventing its metabolic reduction to alcohol in vivo. In addition, this structural modification reduces the potential of the TFMK group to act as a covalent warhead to eliminate off-target effects. Additional structural changes in the cap group of the inhibitors gave analogues with IC values ranging from upper nanomolar to low micromolar in the cytotoxicity assay, and they were more selective for cancer cells over normal cells. Some of the most active analogues inhibited HDAC enzymes with low nanomolar IC values and were found to be more selective for HDAC8 over other isoforms. These molecules provide a new class of HDAC inhibitors with a metabolically stable metal-binding group that could be used to develop selective HDAC inhibitors by further structural modification.

publication date

  • 2022

start page

  • 114807


  • 244