Indoloquinoxaline compounds that selectively antagonize P-glycoprotein

Charles D. Smith, Cynthia B. Myers, Jack T. Zilfou, Staci N. Smith, David S. Lawrence

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (SciVal)


Tumor cells often develop drug resistance through overexpression of membrane transport proteins that effectively efflux anticancer agents. The pharmacologies of the two best-studied transporters, P-glycoprotein (Pgp) and MRP1, are partially overlapping but distinct. To improve the therapeutic potential of drug resistance reversing agents, we have developed a program to identify compounds with selectivity for Pgp or MRP1. Screening of a commercial library of compounds identified indoloquinoxaline compounds with transporter selectivity, and certain examples were synthesized and further evaluated. 1,4-Dibutoxy-6H-indolo[2,3-b]quinoxaline and 4,7-dibutoxy-2,3-dihydrobenzimidazole-2-spiro-3-indolin-2-one were synthesized by condensation of 3,6-dibutoxy-1,4-diaminobenzene and isatin. Neither compound was cytotoxic to MCF-7 cells, nor did either one affect the sensitivity of MCF-7/VP or HL-60/ADR cells at doses up to at least 20 μM, indicating that they do not antagonize MRP1. In contrast, each compound, at doses as low as 0.25 μM, sensitized NCI/ ADR cells to vinblastine, actinomycin D, Taxol, and doxorubicin, indicating that they effectively reverse Pgp-mediated multidrug resistance (MDR). Furthermore, the compounds sensitized two additional cell lines that overexpress Pgp to this panel of anticancer drugs. However, these compounds did not affect the sensitivities of MCF-7 or T24 cells to these cytotoxic drugs, and did not alter the sensitivities of any of the tested cell lines to cisplatin or 5-fluorouracil. Both compounds enhanced the intracellular accumulation of [3H]vinblastine by NCI/ADR cells, but did not inhibit photoaffinity labeling of Pgp by [3H]azidopine at concentrations up to at least 100 μM. Therefore, these novel nontoxic indoloquinoxalines selectively sensitize Pgp-overexpressing cells to drugs that are subject to transport by this protein, without modulating the sensitivities of MRP1-overexpressing or non-Pgp cells to cytotoxic drugs. Because of this transporter selectivity, we predict that these compounds will be effective MDR modulators in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)219-229
Number of pages11
JournalOncology Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)


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