Stolfa DA, Stefanachi A, Gajer JM, Nebbioso A, Altucci L, Cellamare S, Jung M, Carotti A
Epigenetic regulation is an essential process for the normal functioning of genes. Therefore, targeting epigenetic dysregulation in cancer may be a valid therapeutic approach for the treatment of this severe disease. Histone deacetylases (HDACs) are enzymes involved in the regulation of epigenetic post-translational modifications; because they are overexpressed in many types of cancer, HDACs are valuable targets for the development of new anticancer agents. A large series of 2-aminobenzanilides linked at the 4'-position to α-amino acid amides, arenes, and heteroarenes through a methylene bridge were designed, synthesized, and tested as novel HDAC inhibitors. Several compounds showed IC(50) values in the two-digit nanomolar range in hrHDAC1 inhibition assays, lower than that of the reference compound MS-275. They also showed interesting selectivity profiles, as confirmed by western blot assays.