European journal of medicinal chemistry 2017 11 10143() 48-65 pii 10.1016/j.ejmech.2017.11.023
Pyruvate kinase M2 isoform (PKM2) is a crucial protein responsible for aerobic glycolysis of cancer cells. Activation of PKM2 may alter aberrant metabolism in cancer cells. In this study, we discovered a 4-hydroxy-thiazolidine-2-thione compound 2 as a novel PKM2 activator from a random screening of an in-house compound library. Then a series of novel 4-hydroxy-thiazolidine-2-thione derivatives were designed and synthesized for screening as potent PKM2 activators. Among these, some compounds showed higher PKM2 activation activity than lead compound 2 and also exhibited significant anti-proliferative activities on human cancer cell lines at nanomolar concentration. The compound 5w was identified as the most potent antitumor agent, which showed excellent anti-proliferative effects with IC50 values from 0.46 μM to 0.81 μM against H1299, HCT116, Hela and PC3 cell lines. 5w also showed less cytotoxicity in non-tumor cell line HELF compared with cancer cells. In addition, Preliminary pharmacological studies revealed that 5w arrests the cell cycle at the G2/M phase in HCT116 cell line. The best PKM2 activation by compound 5t was rationalized through docking studies.