New benzothiazole-based derivatives were synthesized in the present work with the aim of evaluating their antitumor activity. They were in vitro tested against hepatocellular carcinoma (HepG2), colorectal carcinoma (HCT-116), mammary gland cancer (MCF-7), prostate cancer (PC-3), and epithelioid carcinoma (HeLa). The results of the in vitro antitumor evaluation revealed that the most active compounds were 39, 40, 51, 56, and 61 exhibiting IC values comparable to the reference drug lapatinib. The most active compounds were further subjected to EGFR inhibitory activity assay to rationalize their potency mode. Notably, the most active antitumor compounds 39 and 40 represented the most potent inhibitors to EGFR with IC values of 24.58 and 30.42 nM respectively in comparison with 17.38 nM for lapatinib as a standard drug. Molecular modeling studies were also conducted for the synthesized compounds, including docking into EGFR active site and surface mapping. Results proved the superior binding of the hydrazone derivatives 39 and 40 with EGFR suggesting them as good candidates for targeted antitumor therapy through EGFR kinase inhibition.
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