Histone deacetylase 3 (HDAC3) is one of the most promising targets to develop anticancer therapeutics. In continuation of our quest for selective HDAC3 inhibitors, a series of small molecules having o-hydroxy benzamide as the novel zinc binding group (ZBG) has been introduced for the first time that can be able to produce good HDAC3-selectivity over other HDACs. The most promising HDAC3 inhibitors, 11a and 12b, displayed promising in vitro anticancer activities with less toxicity to normal kidney cells. These compounds significantly upregulate histone acetylation and induce apoptosis with a G2/M phase arrest in B16F10 cells. Compound 11a exhibited potent antitumor efficacy in 4T1-Luc breast cancer xenograft mouse model in female Balb/c mice. It also showed significant tumor growth suppression with no general toxicity and extended survival rates post-tumor resection. It significantly induced higher ROS generation, leading to apoptosis. No considerable toxicity was noticed in major organs isolated from the compound 11a-treated mice. Compound 11a also induced the upregulation of acH3K9, acH4K12, caspase-3 and caspase-7 as analyzed by immunoblotting with treated tumor tissue. Overall, HDAC3 selective inhibitor 11a might be a potential lead for the clinical translation as an emerging drug candidate.
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