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Title:
KINASE INHIBITORS FOR THE TREATMENT OF CANCER
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2013/138863
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present invention relates to kinase inhibitors for the treatment of cancer. Specifically, the present invention relates to the use of aminoactonitrile derivatives (AADs) in the treatment of cancer.

Inventors:
MORRIS, David Lawson (960 Forest Road, Lugarno, NSW 2210, AU)
Application Number:
AU2013/000290
Publication Date:
September 26, 2013
Filing Date:
March 22, 2013
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
NEWSOUTH INNOVATIONS PTY LIMITED (Rupert Myers Building, 14 Barker StreetUniversity of New South Wales, NSW 2052, AU)
International Classes:
C07C255/29; A61K31/277; A61P35/00; C07C317/14
Domestic Patent References:
WO2005044784A12005-05-19
WO2007006939A22007-01-18
Foreign References:
CN102127074A2011-07-20
EP1216053A22002-06-26
US6372223B12002-04-16
EP0399843A21990-11-28
US7029678B22006-04-18
Other References:
DUCRAY, P. ET AL.: "Discovery of amino-acetonitrile derivatives, a new class of synthetic anthelmintic compounds", BIOORGANIC AND MEDICINAL CHEMISTRY LETTERS, vol. 18, no. 9, 2008, pages 2935 - 2938, XP022634984
KAMINSKY, R. ET AL.: "A new class of anthelmintics effective against drug-resistant nematodes", NATURE, vol. 452, no. 7184, 2008, pages 176 - 180, XP055162540
KINSELLA, B. ET AL.: "Determination of the anthelmintic monepantel and its sulfone metabolite in milk and muscle using a UHPLC-MS/MS and QuEChERS method", JOURNAL OF CHROMATOGRAPHY, B: ANALYTICAL TECHNOLOGIES IN THE BIOMEDICAL AND LIFE SCIENCES, vol. 879, no. 31, 2011, pages 3707 - 3713, XP028121186
GUMINSKA, M.: "The Effect of Levamisole on Energy Metabolism in Ehrlich Ascites Tumour Cells in vitro", BIOCHEMICAL PHARMACOLOGY, vol. 35, no. 24, 1986, pages 4369 - 4374, XP025516051
See also references of EP 2817286A4
DUCRAY ET AL., BIOORGANIC AND MEDICINAL CHEMISTRY LETTERS, vol. 18, no. 9, 2008, pages 2935 - 2938
H. ANSEL: "Pharmaceutical Dosage Forms and Drug Delivery Systems", 1995
"Remington's Pharmaceutical Sciences", 1990, MACK PUBLISHING CO.
"Remington's Pharmaceutical Science", MACK PUBLISHING COMPANY
"Methods in Cell Biology", vol. XIV, 1976, ACADEMIC PRESS, pages: 33
"Goodman And Gilman's: The Pharmacological Bases of Therapeutics", 1990, PERGAMON PRESS
FINGL ET AL., THE PHARMACOLOGICAL BASIS OF THERAPEUTICS, 1975, pages l
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SPRUSON & FERGUSON (GPO BOX 3898, Sydney, New South Wales 2001, AU)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

1. A method for the treatment of one or more cancers, the method comprising administering a therapeutically effective amount of a compound of formula (I):

or a metabolite, pharmaceutically acceptable salt, solvate or prodrug thereof to a patient in need thereof, wherein

R1, R2 and R3 and R5 are each independently selected from H, alkyl, halogen, -CF3 or -CN;

R4 and R6 are each independently selected from H, alkyl, halogen, alkoxy, -CF3, -OCF3, -S02-CF3j -SO-CF3 or -S-CF3;

X is heteroatom, N(alkyl) or NH; and

n is 1 to 20.

2. The method according to claim 1 , wherein R1 is -CN, H or halogen.

3. The method according to claim 1 or 2, wherein R2 is H or halogen.

4. The method according to any preceding claim, wherein R3 is -CF3 or halogen.

5. The method according to any preceding claim, wherein R4 is -S-CF3, -SOCF3, -S02CF3, -OCF3 or -CF3.

6. The method according to any preceding claim, wherein R5 is H.

7. The method according to any preceding claim, wherein X is O.

8. The method according to any preceding claim, wherein n is 1.

9. The method according to any preceding claim, wherein R4 is para to the amide moiety.

10. The method according to any preceding claim, wherein the compound of formula (I) is the (R)- or (5)-enantiomer or the racemate.

1 1. The method according to any preceding claim, wherein the compound of formula (I) is the (5)-enantiomer.

15 AAD 450;

AAD 907;

AAD 970;

10

AAD 1154;

15 AAD 004;

AAD 1470; wherein each of the above compounds is the (R)- or (S)-enantiomer, or the racemate, or a metabolite, pharmaceutically acceptable salt, solvate or prodrug thereof.

13. The method according to any preceding claim, wherein the compound of formula (I) is MPL (N-[(15)-l-cyano-2-(5-cyano-2-trifluoromethyl-phenoxy)-l-methyl-ethyl]-4- trifluoromethylsulfanyl-benzamide):

MPL or a metabolite, pharmaceutically acceptable salt, solvate or prodrug thereof.

14. The method according to any one of claims 1 to 12, wherein the compound of formula (I) is monepantel sulphone (MPL-S02):

MPL-S02

or a metabolite, pharmaceutically acceptable salt, solvate or prodrug thereof.

15. The method according to claim 1, wherein the compound of formula (I) is selected from any one of the following compounds:

AAD 1336; or

AAD 1470;

or a metabolite, pharmaceutically acceptable salt, solvate or prodrug thereof.

16. The method according to any preceding claim, wherein the cancer is associated with a kinase.

17. The method according to claim 16, wherein the kinase is a cyclin-dependent kinase.

18. The method according to claim 17, wherein the cyclin-dependent kinase is cdk2 or cdkt.

19. The method according to any proceeding claim, wherein the cancer is selected from the following: carcinoma, including that of the bladder, breast, colon, mesothelioma, kidney, liver, lung, including small cell lung cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, head and neck, oesophagus, gall bladder, ovary, pancreas, stomach, cervix, thyroid, prostate, and skin, including squamous cell carcinoma; hematopoietic tumors of lymphoid lineage, including leukaemia, acute lymphocytic leukaemia, acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, B-cell lymphoma, T- cell lymphoma, Hodgkins lymphoma, non-Hodgkins lymphoma, hairy cell lymphoma, mantle cell lymphoma, myeloma, and Burkett's lymphoma; hematopoietic tumors of myeloid lineage, including acute and chronic myelogenous leukemias, myelodysplastic syndrome and promyelocyte leukemia; tumors of mesenchymal origin, including liposarcoma, GIST, fibrosarcoma and rhabdomyosarcoma; tumors of the central and peripheral nervous system, including astrocytoma, neuroblastoma, glioma and schwannomas; and other tumors, including melanoma, seminoma, teratocarcinoma, osteosarcoma, xenoderoma pigmentosum, keratoctanthoma, thyroid follicular cancer and Kaposi's sarcoma.

20. The method according to claim 19, wherein the cancer is selected from cancer of the s ovaries, breast, prostate or mesothelioma cancer.

21. The method according to claim 19 or 20, wherein the disease is cancer of the ovaries.

22. Use of a compound of formula (I) or a metabolite, pharmaceutically acceptable salt, solvate or prodrug thereof in the manufacture of a medicament for the treatment of one or more cancers associated with a kinase:

wherein

R1, R2 and R3 and R5 are each independently selected from H, alkyl,s halogen, -CF3 or -ON;

R4 and R6 are each independently selected from H, alkyl, halogen, alkoxy, -CF3, -OCF3, -S02-CF3, -SO-CF3 or -S-CF3;

X is heteroatom, N(alkyl) or NH; and

n is 1 to 20.

23. The use according to claim 22, wherein R1 is -CN, H or halogen.

24. The use according to claim 22 or 23, wherein R2 is H or halogen.

25. The use according to any one of claims 22 to 24, wherein R3 is -CF3 or halogen.

26. The use according to any one of claims 22 to 25, wherein R4 is -S-CF3, -SOCF3> -S02CF3, -OCF3 or -CF3.

5 27. The use according to any one of claims 22 to 26, wherein R5 is H.

28. The use according to any one of claims 22 to 27, wherein X is O.

29. The use according to any one of claims 22 to 28, wherein n is 1.

30. The use according to any one of claims 22 to 29, wherein R4 is para to the amide moiety.

31. The use according to any one of claims 22 to 30, wherein the compound of formula (I) is the (/?)- or OS^-enantiomer or the racemate.

32. The use according to any one of claims 22 to 31, wherein the compound of formula (I) is the (S)-enantiomer.

33. The use according to any one of claims 22 to 32, wherein the compound of formula (I) is selected from any one of the following compounds:

AAD 450;

AAD 970;

AAD 004;

AAD 1470; wherein each of the above compounds is the (R)- or (S)-enantiomer, or the racemate, or a metabolite, pharmaceutically acceptable salt, solvate or prodrug thereof.

34. The use according to any one claims 22 to 33, wherein the compound of formula (I) is MPL (N-[(lS -l-cyano-2-(5-cyano-2-trifluoromethyl-phenoxy)-l-methyl-ethyl]-4- trifluoromethylsulfanyl-benzamide):

MPL or a metabolite, pharmaceutically acceptable salt, solvate or prodrug thereof.

35. The use according to any one of claims 22 to 33, wherein the compound of formula (I) is monepantel sulphone (MPL-S02):

MPL-S02

or a metabolite, pharmaceutically acceptable salt, solvate or prodrug thereof.

36. The use according to claim 22, wherein the compound of formula (I) is selected from any one of the following compounds:

AAD 907;

AAD 1336; or

AAD 1470;

or a metabolite, pharmaceutically acceptable salt, solvate or prodrug thereof.

37. The use according to any one of claims 22 to 36, wherein the cancer is associated with a kinase.

38. The use according to claim 37, wherein the kinase is a cyclin-dependent kinase.

3 . The use according to claim 38, wherein the cyclin-dependent kinase is cdk2 or edict.

40. The use according to any one of claims 22 to 39, wherein the cancer is selected from the following: carcinoma, including that of the bladder, breast, colon, mesothelioma, kidney, liver, lung, including small cell lung cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, head and neck, oesophagus, gall bladder, ovary, pancreas, stomach, cervix, thyroid, prostate, and skin, including squamous cell carcinoma; hematopoietic tumors of lymphoid lineage, including leukaemia, acute lymphocytic leukaemia, acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, B-cell lymphoma, T- cell lymphoma, Hodgkins lymphoma, non-Hodgkins lymphoma, hairy cell lymphoma, mantle cell lymphoma, myeloma, and Burkett's lymphoma; hematopoietic tumors of myeloid lineage, including acute and chronic myelogenous leukemias, myelodysplastic syndrome and promyelocyte leukemia; tumors of mesenchymal origin, including liposarcoma, GIST, fibrosarcoma and rhabdomyosarcoma; tumors of the central and peripheral nervous system, including astrocytoma, neuroblastoma, glioma and schwannomas; and other tumors, including melanoma, seminoma, teratocarcinoma, osteosarcoma, xenoderoma pigmentosum, keratoctanthoma, thyroid follicular cancer and Kaposi's sarcoma.

41. The use according to claim 40, wherein the cancer is selected from cancer of the ovaries, breast, prostate or mesothelioma cancer.

42. The use according to claim 40 or 41, wherein the disease is cancer of the ovaries. 43. A compound of formula (I) or a metabolite, pharmaceutically acceptable salt, solvate or prodrug thereof, for use in the treatment of one or more cancers associated with a kinase:

(I)

wherein

R1, R2 and R3 and R5 are each independently selected from H, alkyl, halogen, -CF3 or -CN;

R4 and R6 are each independently selected from H, alkyl, halogen, alkoxy,

-CF3, -OCF3, -S02-CF3, -SO-CF3 or -S-CF3;

X is heteroatom, N(alkyl) or NH; and

n is 1 to 20.

44. The compound according to claim 43, wherein R1 is -CN, H or halogen.

45. The compound according to claim 43 or 44, wherein R2 is H or halogen.

46. The compound according to any one of claims 43 to 45, wherein R3 is -CF3 or halogen.

47. The compound according to any one of claims 43 to 46, wherein R4 is -S-CF3, -SOCF3, -S02CF3, -OCF3 or -CF3.

48. The compound according to any one of claims 43 to 47, wherein R5 is H.

49. The compound according to any one of claims 43 to 48, wherein X is O.

50. The compound according to any one of claims 43 to 49, wherein n is 1.

51. The compound according to any one of claims 43 to 50, wherein R4 is para to the amide moiety.

52. The compound according to any one of claims 43 to 51 , which is the (R)~ or (£)- enantiomer or the racemate.

53. The compound according to any one of claims 43 to 52, which is the (5)-enantiomer.

54. The compound according to any one of claims 43 to 53, wherein the compound of formula (I) is selected from any one of the following compounds:

AAD 450;

AAD 970;

15 AAD 004;

AAD 1470; wherein each of the above compounds is the (R)- or (S)-enantiomer, or the racemate, or a metabolite, pharmaceutically acceptable salt, solvate or prodrug thereof.

55. The compound according to any one of claims 43 to 54, wherein the compound of formula (I) is MPL (N-[(15 -l-cyano-2-(5-cyano-2-trifluoromethyl-phenoxy)-l - methyl-ethyl]-4-trifluoromethylsulfanyl-benzamide):

MPL or a metabolite, pharmaceutically acceptable salt, solvate or prodrug thereof.

56. The compound according to any one of claims 43 to 54, wherein the compound of formula (I) is monepantel sulphone (MPL-S02):

MPL-S02

or a metabolite, pharmaceutically acceptable salt, solvate or prodrug thereof.

57. The compound according to claim 43, wherein the compound of formula (I) is selected from any one of the following compounds:

AAD 907;

AAD 1336; or

AAD 1470;

or a metabolite, pharmaceutically acceptable salt, solvate or prodrug thereof.

58. The compound according to any one of claims 43 to 57, wherein the cancer is associated with a kinase.

59. The compound according to claim 58, wherein the kinase is a cyclin-dependent kinase.

60. The compound according to claim 59, wherein the cyclin-dependent kinase is cdk2 or cdk4.

61. The compound according to any one of claims 43 to 60, wherein the cancer is selected from the following: carcinoma, including that of the bladder, breast, colon, mesothelioma, kidney, liver, lung, including small cell lung cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, head and neck, oesophagus, gall bladder, ovary, pancreas, stomach, cervix, thyroid, prostate, and skin, including squamous cell carcinoma; hematopoietic tumors of lymphoid lineage, including leukaemia, acute lymphocytic leukaemia, acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, B-cell lymphoma, T- cell lymphoma, Hodgkins lymphoma, non-Hodgkins lymphoma, hairy cell lymphoma, mantle cell lymphoma, myeloma, and Burkett's lymphoma; hematopoietic tumors of myeloid lineage, including acute and chronic myelogenous leukemias, myelodysplasia syndrome and promyelocyte leukemia; tumors of mesenchymal origin, including liposarcoma, GIST, fibrosarcoma and rhabdomyosarcoma; tumors of the central and peripheral nervous system, including astrocytoma, neuroblastoma, glioma and schwannomas; and other tumors, including melanoma, seminoma, teratocarcinoma, osteosarcoma, xenoderoma pigmentosum, keratoctanthoma, thyroid follicular cancer and Kaposi's sarcoma.

s 62. The compound according to claim 61, wherein the cancer is selected from cancer of the ovaries, breast, prostate or mesothelioma cancer.

63. The compound according to claim 61 or 62, wherein the disease is cancer of the ovaries.

Description:
KINASE INHIBITORS FOR THE TREATMENT OF CANCER

Technical Field

In general, the present invention relates to kinase inhibitors for the treatment of cancer. Specifically, the present invention relates to the use of aminoactonitrile derivatives (AADs) in the treatment of cancer.

Background

Aminoacetonitrile derivatives (AADs) are a class of anthelmintics effective against drug-resistant nematodes. The nematodes, or roundworms, comprise a large number of pathogens of man and domestic animals. Gastrointestinal nematodes, such as Haemonchus contortus, are major parasites of ruminants that cause substantial economic losses to livestock production worldwide.

Monepantel (MPL) (N-[( 1 S)- 1 -cyano-2-(5-cyano-2-trifluoromethyl-phenoxy)- 1 - methyl-ethyl]-4-trifluoromethylsulfanyl-benzamide) is an example of such an AAD and has been approved as a nematocide for the treatment of sheep gastrointestinal parasites.

MPL

MPL has been shown to be efficacious against various species of livestock- pathogenic nematodes.

As a nematocide, MPL affects ligand-gated ion channels leading to interference of signal transduction at neuromuscular synapse. The affected parasites will then experience dysregulation in muscle contraction, paralysis, necrosis and moulting defects. Three nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) related genes have been identified as the primary targets of MPL and all of the three genes encode for the proteins representing the DEG-3 subfamily of nAChR subunits that are only present in nematodes. The DEG- 3 gene encodes a nAChR a-subunit which holds resemblance to that of a7 subunit in second transmembrane domain. It has now surprisingly been found that AADs are also effective in the treatment of cancers. One of the greatest challenges in medicine during that past 50 years has been the identification of drugs that can effectively kill tumour cells without harming normal tissues. The side-effect profile of almost all known classes of anticancer drug is substantive in limiting the physician's ability to treat the cancer patient, especially at late stages when resistance to the drug often develops. Although other antihelminthic drugs such as benzimidazoles have been known to be effective in controlling the growth and development of cancerous cells, the surprising anti-cancer activity and low toxicity of compounds of formula (I), such as MPL, allows more flexible dosing regimens for cancer therapy with limited side effects.

Summary of the Invention

According to a first aspect of the present invention there is provided a method for the treatment of one or more cancers, the method comprising administering a therapeutically effective amount of a compound of formula (I):

or a metabolite, pharmaceutically acceptable salt, solvate or prodrug thereof to a patient in need thereof, wherein

R 1 , R 2 and R 3 and R 5 are each independently selected from H, alkyl, halogen, -CF 3 or -CN;

R 4 and R 6 are each independently selected from H, alkyl, halogen, alkoxy, -CF 3 , -OCF 3 , -S0 2 CF 3 , -SOCF 3 , or -S-CF 3 ;

X is heteroatom, N(alkyl) or NH; and

n is 1 to 20.

Preferably, R 1 is -CN, H or halogen. More preferably, R 1 is -CN. Preferably, R 2 is H or halogen. More preferably, R is H. Preferably, R is -CF 3 or halogen. More preferably, R 3 is -CF 3 . Preferably, R 4 is -S-CF 3 , -SOCF 3 , -S0 2 CF 3 , -OCF 3 or -CF 3 . More preferably, R 4 is -S-CF 3 or -S0 2 CF 3 . Preferably, R 5 is H. Preferably, X is O. Preferably, n is 1 to 15, 1 to 10, 1 to 5, 1 to 2, or 1. More preferably, n is 1. Preferably, R 4 is arranged para to the amide moiety.

The compound of formula (I) may be the (R)- or (5)-enantiomer or the racemate. Preferably, the compound of formula (I) is the (5)-enantiomer.

Preferably, the compound of formula (I) is selected from any one of the following compounds:

AAD 450;

AAD 970;

AAD 004;

AAD 1470; wherein each of the above compounds is the ( ?)- or (5 -enantiomer, or the racemate, or a metabolite, pharmaceutically acceptable salt, solvate or prodrug thereof.

Preferably, the compound of formula (I) is MPL (N-[(lS)-l-cyano-2-(5-cyano-2- trifiuoromethyl-phenoxy)- 1 -methyl-ethyl]-4-trifluoromethylsulfanyl-benzamide):

MPL or a metabolite, pharmaceutically acceptable salt, solvate or prodrug thereof. Preferably, the compound of formula (I) is monepantel sulphone (MPL-S02):

MPL-S02

or a metabolite, pharmaceutically acceptable salt, solvate or prodrug thereof.

Further preferably, the compound of formula (I) is selected from any one of the following compounds:

AAD 2224 (MPL-( ?));

AAD 907;

AAD 1336; or

AAD 1470;

or a metabolite, pharmaceutically acceptable salt, solvate or prodrug thereof.

Preferably, the cancer is associated with a kinase.

Preferably, the kinase is a cyclin-dependent kinase, and more preferably, cdk 2 or cdk4-

Preferably, the cancer associated with a kinase is selected from the following: carcinoma, including that of the bladder, breast, colon, mesothelioma, kidney, liver, lung, including small cell lung cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, head and neck, oesophagus, gall bladder, ovary, pancreas, stomach, cervix, thyroid, prostate, and skin, including squamous cell carcinoma; hematopoietic tumors of lymphoid lineage, including leukaemia, acute lymphocytic leukaemia, acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, B- cell lymphoma, T- cell lymphoma, Hodgkins lymphoma, non-Hodgkins lymphoma, hairy cell lymphoma, mantle cell lymphoma, myeloma, and Burkett's lymphoma; hematopoietic tumors of myeloid lineage, including acute and chronic myelogenous leukemias, myelodysplastic syndrome and promyelocyte leukemia; tumors of mesenchymal origin, including liposarcoma, GIST, fibrosarcoma and rhabdomyosarcoma; tumors of the central and peripheral nervous system, including astrocytoma, neuroblastoma, glioma and schwannomas; and other tumors, including melanoma, seminoma, teratocarcinoma, osteosarcoma, xenoderoma pigmentosum, keratoctanthoma, thyroid follicular cancer and Kaposi's sarcoma. Preferably, the cancer to be treated is selected from cancer of the ovaries, breast, prostate or mesothelioma cancer, and most preferably the cancer to be treated is cancer of the ovaries.

In a second aspect of the invention, there is provided the use of a compound of formula (I) or a metabolite, pharmaceutically acceptable salt, solvate or prodrug thereof in the manufacture of a medicament for the treatment of one or more cancers associated with a kinase:

(I) wherein

R', R 2 and R 3 and R 5 are each independently selected from H, alkyl, halogen, -CF 3 or -CN;

R 4 and R 6 are each independently selected from H, alkyl, halogen, alkoxy, -CFj, -OCF3, -S0 2 -CF 3 , -SO-CF 3 or -S-CF 3 ;

X is heteroatom, N(alkyl) or NH; and

n is 1 to 20.

In a third aspect of the invention, there is provided a compound of formula (I) or a metabolite, pharmaceutically acceptable salt, solvate or prodrug thereof, for use in the treatment of one or more cancers associated with a kinase:

(I)

wherein R 1 , R 2 and R 3 and R 5 are each independently selected from H, alkyl, halogen, -CF 3 or -CN;

R 4 and R 6 are each independently selected from H, alkyl, halogen, alkoxy, -CF 3 , -OCF3, -SO2-CF3, -SO-CF3 or -S-CF3;

X is heteroatom, N(alkyl) or NH; and

n is 1 to 20.

Brief description of the Figures

Figure 1 shows the inhibition of cell proliferation by MPL. Ovarian cancer cell lines OVCAR-3, A2780 and SKOV-3 and normal HUVEC (control) were all cultured in the presence of MPL (0, 1 , 5, 10, 25, 50 and 100 μιηοΙ/L) for 72 hours. The effect of MPL on cell proliferation was assessed using the SRB assay. Control (vehicle treated) cells were taken to present 100% proliferation and the MPL treated groups are expressed as percentage of control. Each drug concentration was tested in quadruplicate and each experiment was repeated at least twice. The data (mean ± SEM) are presented as a percentage of the control. For statistical comparisons, each drug treated group was compared with the control group using Student's t test.

Figure 2 shows the effect of MPL on the colony formation activity of OVCAR-3 cells. Following incubation of cells with MPL (0, 5, 10 and 25 μηιοΙ/L) for 72 hours, cells were washed, transferred to agar plates, cultured with their regular growth medium and incubated under standard conditions for 2 weeks. Cells were then fixed with 100% methanol and stained with 1% crystal violet. Colonies (a cluster of cells greater than 50) were counted under a microscope (magnification χ 5). The number of colonies counted for different experimental groups is expressed as a percentage of the control.

Figure 3 shows how MPL interferes with the cell cycle distribution of ovarian cancer cell lines. OVCAR-3 (Figure 3a) or A2780 (Figure 3b) cells were treated with MPL (0, 5, 10 and 25 μηιοΙ/L) for 48 hours. Propodium iodide stained cells were analysed for DNA content using flow cytometric analysis. The results (see table) are shown as a percentage of cells in Gl , S and G2 M phases. Each value represents mean ± SEM of 2 independent experiments.

Figure 4 shows how MPL interferes with the expression of cell cycle regulatory proteins cdk2, cdk4 and cyclins E and A. Cells were treated with MPL (0, 5, 10 and 25 μηιοΙ/L) for 48 hours. Whole-protein extracts were obtained and separated by electrophoresis and immunoblots were probed with the indicated antibodies. Western blot analysis showing the levels of these proteins in each extract was analysed using the relevant antibodies. The image represents, the exposed radiographic film scanned. The house-keeping gene (GAPDH) was used to confirm similar protein loading and blot transfer.

Figure 5 shows an immunoblot analysis of PARP and cleaved PARP in MPL treated cells. OVCAR-3 and A2780 cells grown under cell culture conditions were incubated with various concentrations of MPL [0, 5, 10, 25 μΜ] for 24, 48 or 72 hours. Cell lysates were then prepared and analysed by western blotting for the determination of PARP and cleaved PARP.

Figure 6 shows that treatment of A2780 ovarian cancer cells with MPL or U87 glioma cells with MPL-S02 lead to the formation of vacuoles suggesting that MPL and MPL-S02 induce autophagy in these cells.

Figure 7, consistent with that shown in Figure 6, shows that MPL treatment reduces the cellular ratio of ADP/ATP, which is another indicator of cellular autophagy.

Figure 8 shows MPL interference with cell viability. A) Microscopic image of OVCAR-3 cells exposed to MPL (0, 5, 10, 25 μΜ) for 72 h. Human ovarian cancer cell lines OVCAR-3, A2780, SKOV-3, IGROV-1 were cultured in the presence of MPL (0, 5, 10, 25, μηιοΙ/L) for 72 h. Effect of MPL on cell viability was assessed using the standard Trypan blue assay. Control (vehicle treated) cells were taken to present 100% viable and the MPL treated groups are expressed as percentage of control. Each drug concentration was tested in quadruplicate and each experiment was repeated at least twice. The data (mean ± SEM) are presented as % control. For statistical comparisons, each drug treated group was compared with the control group using Student's t test and a p value of 0.5 or less was considered to present a significant change (p<0..5), * = <0.05, ** < 0.01 , *** = p< 0.001.

Figure 9 shows the effect of MPL on the viability of normal cells and shows the anti-proliferative effect of MPL is cancer cell orientated. Normal cells HOSE, CHO, HEK and HUVEC were cultured in the presence of MPL (0, 5, 10, 25, μη οΙ/L) for 72 h. Effect of MPL on cell viability was assessed using the standard Trypan blue assay.

Results are presented as mean ± SEM compared to control (100%).

Figure 10 shows how MPL inhibits cell proliferation. Human ovarian cancer cell lines OVCAR-3 , A2780 and SKOV-3 and IGROV-1 were all cultured in the presence of MPL (0, 5, 10, 25, 50 and 100 μπιοΙ/L) for 72 h. Effect of MPL on cell proliferation was assessed using the SRB assay. Control (vehicle treated) cells were taken to present 100% proliferation and the MPL treated groups are expressed as percentage of control. Each drug concentration was tested in quadruplicate and each experiment was repeated at least twice. The data (mean ± SEM) are presented as % control. For statistical comparisons, each drug treated group was compared with the control group using Student's t test. (A): Atropine: muscarinic Ach. receptor antagonist, Tobucorarine: nicortinic Ach. receptor antagonist, Mecamylamine: nonselective, noncompetitive nicotinic receptor antagonist; (B): Carbachol: muscarinic nicotinic ach. receptor agonist, Nicotine: Nicotinic ach. receptor agonist, Alpha-bungarotoxin: selective a7, nicotinic ach receptor agonist.

Figure 11 shows that the MPL antiproliferative effect is independent of nicotinic receptors. Cells were pre-treated (30 min) with increasing concentrations of nicotine, carbachol or the receptor antagonists, atropine, mecamylamine, tubocurarine, and a- bungarotoxin. MPL (5 μΜ) was added and left in the cell culture incubator for 72 h. Each drug concentration was tested in quadruplicate and each experiment was repeated twice. Combine values (mean ± SEM) are presented as % control.

Figure 12 shows how MPL inhibits proliferation of glioma cells. Comparison of the effect of MPL treatment (0, 5, 10, 25, 50 μΜ; 72 h) on the proliferation of U87- MG, U251 glioma cell lines versus normal astrocytes under normal cell culture conditions and using SRB proliferation assay. Data are presented as % control.

Figure 13 shows how MPL induces autophagy. The treatment of chemo-resistant U87 glioma cells with MPL leads to autophagy, which is confirmed by increased expression of LC3-II in a concentration-dependent manner. U87-MG and U251 glioma cells treated with MPL demonstrated concentration-dependent formation of autophagy (shown as vacuoles). Concentration-dependent conversion of LC3-I to LC3-II confirms the increasing phenomenon of autophagy in these cells.

Figure 14 shows the effect of MPL on the colony formation activity of OVCAR-3 and A2780 cells. Following incubation of cells with MPL (0, 5, 10, 25 μΜ) for 72 h, cells were washed and then transferred to agar plates, cultured with their regular growth medium and incubated under standard conditions for 2 weeks. Cells were then fixed with 100% methanol and stained with 1% crystal violet. Colonies (cluster of cells greater than 50) were counted under microscope (magnification χ 5). Number of colonies counted for different experimental groups is expressed as % of control.

Figure 15 shows how MPL interferes with the cell cycle progression of ovarian cancer cell lines. OVCAR-3 or A2780 cells were treated with MPL (0, 5, 10, 25 μΜ) for 48 h and examined by flow cytometric analysis (FACS) after staining the cells with PI. The Figure and data present MPL-induced change in cell distribution in various phases of the cell cycle, here shown as percentage of cells in Gl, S and G2/M phases. Each value represents mean ± SEM of 2 independent determinations.

Figure 16 shows how MPL interferes with the expression of cell cycle regulatory proteins cdk2, cdk4, cyclines E and A. Cells were treated with MPL (0, 5, 10, 25 μΜ) for 24, 48 h or 72 h. Whole-protein extracts were obtained and separated by

electrophoresis, and immunoblots were probed with the indicated antibodies. Western blot analysis showing the levels of these proteins in each extract was analysed using the relevant antibodies. The image represents the exposed radiographic film scanned. The house-keeping gene (GAPDH) was used to confirm similar protein loading and blot transfer.

Figure 17 shows how MPL cleaves PARP. Exposure of OVCAR-3 or A2780 cells to MPL (0, 5, 10, 25 μΜ) for 24, 48 or 72 h causes cleavage of PARP, which leads to cellular disassembly and serves as a marker of dying cells.

Figures 18A and 18B show how MPL decreases ATP levels. Exposure of

OVCAR-3 or A2780 cells to MPL (0, 5, 10, 25 μΜ) for 24, 48 or 72 h causes cleavage of PARP, which leads to cellular disassembly and serves as a marker of dying cells.

Figure 19 shows the effect of i.p. (intraperitoneal) administered monepantel on s.c. (subcutaneous) tumor growth in nude mice. 2.5 million log-phase growing OVCAR-3 cells were injected s.c. into the left flank of each mouse. Tumor growth was monitored by caliper measurements and tumor volumes were determined through measuring orthogonal diameters. Estimated tumor volume was calculated based on the formula 1/2 (Length* Width 2 ), where width is the shorter of the two orthogonal measurements.

Treatment was initiated 7 days post tumor cell injection before which, mice were randomized and assigned to treatment or the control group (6 per group). Monepantel suspended in 0.5% HPMC was administered i.p. at 2.5 or 25 mg/kg thrice weekly. Control group were treated with the vehicle only.

Figure 20 shows the effect of i.p. administered monepantel on s.c. tumor growth in nude mice. Log-phase growing OVCAR-3 cells were injected s.c. into the left flank of each mouse. Tumor growth was monitored by caliper measurements and tumor volumes were determined through measuring orthogonal diameters. Estimated tumor volume was calculated based on the formula 1/2 (Lengthx Width 2 ), where width is the shorter of the two orthogonal measurements. Treatment was initiated 7 days post tumor cell injection before which, mice were randomized and assigned to treatment or the control group (6 per group). Monepantel suspended in 0.5% HPMC was administered i.p. at 25 or 50 mg/kg thrice weekly. Control group were treated with the vehicle only.

Figure 21 shows the effect of oral monepantel on tumor growth in nude mice. OVCAR-3 cells were injected s.c. into the left flank of each mouse. Tumor growth was monitored by caliper measurements and tumor volumes were determined of orthogonal diameters, and the estimated tumor volume was calculated based on the formula 1/2 (Length* Width 2 ), where width is the shorter of the two orthogonal measurements.

Treatment was initiated 7 days post tumor cell injection before which, mice were randomized and assigned to treatment or the control group (6 per group). Monepantel suspended in 0.5% HPMC was administered orally (100 μί) at 50 or 100 mg kg thrice weekly. Control group were treated orally with the vehicle only.

Figures 19-21 in general show the effect of MPL on s.c. xenografts in female nude mice. Mice were inoculated in the left flank with 2.5 million log-phase growing human OVCAR-3 cells. Tumor growth was monitored by caliper measurements and tumor volumes were determined through measuring orthogonal diameters. Estimated tumor volume was calculated based on the formula 1/2 (Length χ Width 2 ), where width is the shorter of the two orthogonal measurements. Treatment was initiated 7 days post tumor cell injection before which, mice were randomized and assigned to treatment or the control group (5-6 per group). Monepantel suspended in 0.5% HPMC was administered i.p. at 2.5 or 25 mg/kg (Figure 19), 25 and 50 mg/kg (Figure 20) or orally at 50 and 100 mg/kg, all given three times weekly. Control group mice received similar volume of 0.5% HPMC in an exactly similar manner and time.

Figure 22 shows how MPL induces necrosis in tumor tissues. Tumor tissue from subcutaneous xenografts in nude mice were treated with MPL administered orally on alternate days at 50 or 100 mg/kg/day. Histological images of tumors are shown in hematoxylin and eosin staining (H&E; top row), indicating profound drug-induced necrosis (black arrow head; magnification χ 10). A representative image of tumor histology from tumors excised from MPL treated mice demonstrating extensive necrosis at the higher dose of 100 mg/kg (s.c. tumor, oral treatment, χ 3 weekly for 2 weeks).

Definitions

"Halogen" means fluorine, chlorine, bromine or iodine, preferably fluorine or chlorine. "Alkyl" means an aliphatic hydrocarbon group which may be straight or branched and comprising about 1 to about 20 carbon atoms in the chain. Preferred alkyl groups contain about 1 to about 12 carbon atoms in the chain. More preferred alkyl groups contain about 1 to about 6 carbon atoms in the chain. Branched means that one or more lower alkyl groups such as methyl, ethyl or propyl, are attached to a linear alkyl chain. "Lower alkyl" means a group having about 1 to about 6 carbon atoms in the chain which may be straight or branched. "Alkyl" may be unsubstituted or optionally substituted by one or more substituents which may be the same or different, each substituent being independently selected from the group consisting of halo, alkyl, aryl, cycloalkyl, cyano, hydroxy, alkoxy, alkylthio, amino, -NH(alkyl), - NH(cycloalkyl), -N(alkyl) 2 , carboxy and -C(0)0-alkyl. Non-limiting examples of suitable alkyl groups include methyl, ethyl, n-propyl, isopropyl and t-butyl.

"Heteroatom" means an atom selected from N, O, P and S. Where necessary, any undesignated valency is independently selected from H, OH, carbonyl, n-alkyl or alkoxy.

"n" may be 1 to 20, preferably 1 to 10, more preferably 1 to 6, and most preferably l to 4.

"Alkoxy" means an alkyl-O- group in which the alkyl group is as previously described. Non-limiting examples of suitable alkoxy groups include methoxy, ethoxy, n- propoxy, isopropoxy and n-butoxy. The bond to the parent moiety is through the ether oxygen.

"Pharmaceutically acceptable salt" refers to conventional acid-addition salts or base-addition salts that retain the biological effectiveness and properties of the compounds of formula (I) and are formed from suitable non-toxic organic or inorganic acids or organic or inorganic bases. Sample acid-addition salts include those derived from inorganic acids such as hydrochloric acid, hydrobromic acid, hydroiodic acid, sulfuric acid, sulfamic acid, phosphoric acid and nitric acid, and those derived from organic acids such as p-toluene sulfonic acid, salicylic acid, methanesulfonic acid, oxalic acid, succinic acid, citric acid, malic acid, lactic acid, fumaric acid, and the like. Sample base-addition salts include those derived from ammonium, potassium, sodium and, quaternary ammonium hydroxides, such as for example, tetramethylammonium hydroxide. The chemical modification of a pharmaceutical compound (i.e. drug) into a salt is a technique well known to pharmaceutical chemists to obtain improved physical and chemical stability, hygroscopicity, flow ability and solubility of compounds. See, e.g., H. Ansel et. al., Pharmaceutical Dosage Forms and Drug Delivery Systems (6th Ed. 1995) at pp. 196 and 1456-1457.

"Pharmaceutically acceptable," such as pharmaceutically acceptable carrier, excipient, etc., means pharmacologically acceptable and substantially non-toxic to the subject to which the particular compound is administered.

"Substituted," as in substituted alkyl, means that the substitution can occur at one or more positions and, unless otherwise indicated, that the substituents at each substitution site are independently selected from the specified options, meaning that more than one substituent may be present simultaneously at various sites.

"Prodrugs" and "solvates" of the compounds of the invention are also contemplated herein. A discussion of prodrugs is provided in T. Higuchi and V. Stella, Pro-drugs as Novel Delivery Systems (1987) 14 of the A.C.S. Symposium Series, and in Bioreversible Carriers in Drug Design, (1987) Edward B. Roche, ed., American Pharmaceutical Association and Pergamon Press. The term "prodrug" means a compound (e.g, a drug precursor) that is transformed in vivo to yield a compound of formula (I) or a metabolite, pharmaceutically acceptable salt or solvate of the compound. The transformation may occur by various mechanisms (e.g., by metabolic or chemical processes). A discussion of the use of prodrugs is provided by T. Higuchi and W. Stella, "Prodrugs as Novel Delivery Systems," Vol. 14 of the A.C.S. Symposium Series, and in Bioreversible Carriers in Drug Design, ed. Edward B. Roche, American Pharmaceutical Association and Pergamon Press, 1987.

"Metabolites" of the compounds of the invention refer to the intermediates and products of metabolism.

The compounds of formula (I) may contain asymmetric or chiral centres, and, therefore, exist in different stereoisomeric forms. It is intended that all stereoisomeric forms of the compounds of formula (I) as well as mixtures thereof, including racemic mixtures, form part of the present invention. In addition, the present invention embraces all geometric and positional isomers. Diastereomeric mixtures can be separated into their individual diastereomers on the basis of their physical chemical differences by methods well known to those skilled in the art, such as, for example, by chromatography and/or fractional crystallization. Enantiomers can be separated by converting the enantiomeric mixture into a diastereomeric mixture by reaction with an appropriate optically active compound (e.g., chiral auxiliary such as a chiral alcohol or Mosher's acid chloride), separating the diastereomers and converting (e.g., hydrolysing) the individual diastereomers to the corresponding pure enantiomers. Enantiomers can also be separated by use of chiral HPLC column. The chiral centres of the present invention can have the S or R configuration as defined by the IUPAC 1974.

The use of the terms "salt", "solvate", or "prodrug" and the like, is intended to equally apply to the salt, solvate and prodrug of enantiomers, stereoisomers, rotamers, tautomers, positional isomers, racemates or prodrugs of the inventive compounds.

As used in this application, the singular form "a", "an" and "the" include plural references unless the context clearly dictates otherwise.

As used herein, the term "comprising" means "including." Variations of the word "comprising", such as "comprise" and "comprises," have correspondingly varied meanings. Thus, for example, a pharmaceutical composition "comprising" a compound of formula (I) may consist exclusively of that compound or may include one or more additional components (e.g. a pharmaceutically acceptable carrier, excipient and/or diluent).

As used herein the term "plurality" means more than one. In certain specific aspects or embodiments, a plurality may mean 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, or more, and any integer derivable therein, and any range derivable therein.

"Therapeutically effective amount" means an amount of at least one compound of formula (I), or a metabolite, pharmaceutically acceptable salt, solvate or prodrug thereof, that substantially inhibits proliferation and/or prevents differentiation of a human tumor cell, including human tumor cell lines. The term "therapeutically effective amount" as used herein, includes within its meaning a non-toxic but sufficient amount of an agent or composition for use in the present invention to provide the desired therapeutic effect. The exact amount required will vary from subject to subject depending on factors such as the species being treated, the age and general condition of the subject, the severity of the condition being treated, the particular agent being administered, the mode of administration and so forth. Thus, it is not possible to specify an exact "effective amount" applicable to all embodiments. However, for any given case, an appropriate "effective amount" may be determined by one of ordinary skill in the art using only routine experimentation. Detailed Description

The AADs (e.g. formula (I)) are a class of compounds that may be synthesized using the ordinary knowledge of organic synthetic methodology. For example, the AADs may be synthesised by derivitisation of phenols with chloroacetone, Strecker reaction and acylation of the resultant amine with aroyl chlorides (as shown in Scheme 1). Where necessary, a particular enantiomer may then be obtained, for example, by chiral resolution (as shown in Scheme 2).

Scheme 1 :

A: Racemate A*: Desired enarticmer

+ Ent-A*

(I) (I) The AADs are a class of chemicals that have previously been used to treat drug-resistant nematodes. The compound, MPL, is an example of one such AAD that targets nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in nematodes, and has been used extensively for the treatment of parasites in ruminants.

Surprisingly, the present inventors have found that compounds of formula (I), such as MPL and MPL-S02, have anti-cancer activity. More specifically, compounds of formula (I), including MPL and MPL-S02, have been shown to inhibit cell proliferation and colony formation of cancer cell lines. For example, ovarian cancer cell lines have shown to be very sensitive to compounds of formula (I), and it is evident that other cell lines are also highly sensitive. These include breast cancer, mesothelioma, prostate cancer and glioblastoma cell lines. MPL is very effective against chemo-resistant, androgen insensitive PC-3 and DU 145 prostate cancer cells. Similarly, replication of PET and YOU cells (mesothelioma) and U87 cells (glioblastoma), which are also highly resistant to chemotherapy, are profoundly suppressed by MPL.

Not wishing to be bound by theory, it is surprising that, unlike the mode of action seen in nematodes, the compounds of formula (I) may act by targeting cyclin-dependent kinases in cancer cell lines. More specifically, the compounds of formula (I) appear to interfere with the cell-cycle regulatory kinases, such as cyclin-dependent kinase 2 (Cdk 2 ) and cyclin-dependent kinase 4 (Cdk 4 ).

The treatment of cancer cell lines with compounds of formula (I), such as MPL and MPL-S02, appears to result in cell cycle-arrest. Again not wishing to be bound by theory, but it appears that treatment may induce a Gl cell cycle arrest, as evidenced by the accumulation of cells in the Gl phase of the cell cycle. Furthermore, it is suggested that that the treatment of cancer cell lines with compounds of formula (I), such as MPL and MPL-S02, may induce an irreversible G 0 cell cycle arrest, as evidenced by the cells exiting the cell cycle and undergoing autophagy and/or apoptosis. This new class of antihelminthic agents may present a different mechanistic profile than benzimidazoles offering a new improved approach to cancer therapy.

Compositions, medicaments and kits

The present invention provides pharmaceutical compositions, medicaments and kits which comprise at least one compound of formula (I), or a metabolite, pharmaceutically acceptable salt, solvate or prodrug of said compound and at least one pharmaceutically acceptable carrier. For preparing pharmaceutical compositions from the compounds described by this invention, inert, pharmaceutically acceptable carriers can be either solid or liquid. Solid form preparations include powders, tablets, dispersible granules, capsules, cachets and suppositories. The powders and tablets may be comprised of from about 5 to about 95 percent active ingredient. Suitable solid carriers are known in the art, e.g., magnesium carbonate, magnesium stearate, talc, sugar or lactose. Tablets, powders, cachets and capsules can be used as solid dosage forms suitable for oral administration. Examples of pharmaceutically acceptable carriers and methods of manufacture for various compositions may be found in A. Gennaro (ed.), Remington's Pharmaceutical Sciences, 18th Edition, (1990), Mack Publishing Co., Easton, Pennsylvania.

Liquid form preparations include solutions, suspensions and emulsions, for example water or water-propylene glycol solutions for parenteral injection or addition of sweeteners and opacifiers for oral solutions, suspensions and emulsions. Liquid form preparations may also include solutions for intranasal administration.

Aerosol preparations suitable for inhalation may include solutions and solids in powder form, which may be in combination with a pharmaceutically acceptable carrier, such as an inert compressed gas, e.g. nitrogen. Also included are solid form preparations that are intended to be converted, shortly before use, to liquid form preparations for either oral or parenteral administration. Such liquid forms include solutions, suspensions and emulsions.

The compounds of the invention may also be deliverable transdermally. The transdermal compositions can take the form of creams, lotions, aerosols and/or emulsions and can be included in a transdermal patch of the matrix or reservoir type as are conventional in the art for this purpose.

The compounds of this invention may also be delivered subcutaneously.

Preferably, the compound of formula (I) is administered orally.

Compositions and medicaments of the present invention may comprise a pharmaceutically acceptable carrier, adjuvant, excipient and/or diluent. The carriers, diluents, excipients and adjuvants must be "acceptable" in terms of being compatible with the other ingredients of the composition or medicament, and are generally not deleterious to the recipient thereof. Non-limiting examples of pharmaceutically acceptable carriers or diluents are demineralised or distilled water; saline solution; vegetable based oils such as peanut oil, safflower oil, olive oil, cottonseed oil, maize oil; sesame oils such as peanut oil, safflower oil, olive oil, cottonseed oil, maize oil, sesame oil, arachis oil or coconut oil; silicone oils, including polysiloxanes, such as methyl polysiloxane, phenyl polysiloxane and methylphenyl ' polysolpoxane; volatile silicones; mineral oils such as liquid paraffin, soft paraffin or squalane; cellulose derivatives such as methyl cellulose, ethyl cellulose, carboxymethylcellulose, sodium carboxymethylcellulose or hydroxylpropylmethylcellulose; lower alkanols, for example ethanol or isopropanol; lower aralkanols; lower polyalkylene glycols or lower alkylene glycols, for example polyethylene glycol, polypropylene glycol, ethylene glycol, propylene glycol, 1,3- butylene glycol or glycerin; fatty acid esters such as isopropyl palmitate, isopropyl myristate or ethyl oleate; polyvinylpyrohdone; agar; gum tragacanth or gum acacia, and petroleum jelly. Typically, the carrier or carriers will form from about 10% to about 99.9% by weight of the composition or medicament.

Composition and medicaments of the present invention may be in a form suitable for administration by injection (e.g. for parenteral administration including subcutaneous, intramuscular or intravenous injection), by oral administration (such as capsules, tablets, caplets, and elixirs, for example), by topical administration (e.g. in the form of an ointment, cream or lotion, or a form suitable for delivery as an eye drop), or by intranasal inhalation (e.g. in the form of aerosols).

For administration as an injectable solution or suspension, non-toxic parenterally acceptable diluents or carriers can include, Ringer's solution, isotonic saline, phosphate buffered saline, ethanol and 1,2 propylene glycol. Methods for preparing parenterally administrable compositions and medicaments are apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art, and are described in more detail in, for example, Remington's Pharmaceutical Science, 15th ed., Mack Publishing Company, Easton, Pa.

For oral administration, some examples of suitable carriers, diluents, excipients and adjuvants include peanut oil, liquid paraffin, sodium carboxymethylcellulose, methylcellulose, sodium alginate, gum acacia, gum tragacanth, dextrose, sucrose, sorbitol, mannitol, gelatine and lecithin. In addition these oral formulations may contain suitable flavouring and colourings agents. When used in capsule form the capsules may be coated with compounds such as glyceryl monostearate or glyceryl stearate which delay disintegration. Adjuvants typically include emollients, emulsifiers, thickening agents, preservatives, bactericides and buffering agents.

Solid forms for oral administration may contain binders acceptable in human and veterinary pharmaceutical practice, sweeteners, disintegrating agents, diluents, flavourings, coating agents, preservatives, lubricants and/or time delay agents. Suitable binders include gum acacia, gelatine, corn starch, gum tragacanth, sodium alginate, carboxymethylcellulose or polyethylene glycol. Suitable sweeteners include sucrose, lactose, glucose, aspartame or saccharine. Suitable disintegrating agents include corn starch, methylcellulose, polyvinylpyrrolidone, guar gum, xanthan gum, bentonite, alginic acid or agar. Suitable diluents include lactose, sorbitol, mannitol, dextrose, kaolin, cellulose, calcium carbonate, calcium silicate or dicalcium phosphate. Suitable flavouring agents include peppermint oil, oil of wintergreen, cherry, orange or raspberry flavouring. Suitable coating agents include polymers or copolymers of acrylic acid and/or methacrylic acid and/or their esters, waxes, fatty alcohols, zein, shellac or gluten. Suitable preservatives include sodium benzoate, vitamin E, alpha-tocopherol, ascorbic acid, methyl paraben, propyl paraben or sodium bisulphite. Suitable lubricants include magnesium stearate, stearic acid, sodium oleate, sodium chloride or talc. Suitable time delay agents include glyceryl monostearate or glyceryl distearate.

Liquid forms for oral administration may contain, in addition to the above agents, a liquid carrier. Suitable liquid carriers include water, oils such as olive oil, peanut oil, sesame oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, arachis oil, coconut oil, liquid paraffin, ethylene glycol, propylene glycol, polyethylene glycol, ethanol, propanol, isopropanol, glycerol, fatty alcohols, triglycerides or mixtures thereof.

Suspensions for oral administration may further comprise dispersing agents and/or suspending agents. Suitable suspending agents include sodium carboxymethylcellulose, methylcellulose, hydroxypropylmethyl-cellulose, poly-vinyl-pyrrolidone, sodium alginate or acetyl alcohol. Suitable dispersing agents include lecithin, polyoxyethylene esters of fatty acids such as stearic acid, polyoxyethylene sorbitol mono-or di-oleate, - stearate or- laurate, polyoxyethylene sorbitan mono-or di-oleate, -stearate or-laurate and the like.

Formulations for oral administration may comprise one or more emulsifying agents. Suitable emulsifying agents include dispersing agents as exemplified above or natural gums such as guar gum, gum acacia or gum tragacanth.

Topical formulations of the present invention may comprise an active ingredient together with one or more acceptable carriers, and optionally any other therapeutic ingredients. Formulations suitable for topical administration include liquid or semi- liquid preparations suitable for penetration through the skin to the site where treatment is required, such as liniments, lotions, creams, ointments or pastes, and drops suitable for administration to the eye, ear or nose.

Drops according to the present invention may comprise sterile aqueous or oily solutions or suspensions. These may be prepared by dissolving the active ingredient in an aqueous solution of a bactericidal and/or fungicidal agent and/or any other suitable preservative, and optionally including a surface active agent. The resulting solution may then be clarified by filtration, transferred to a suitable container and sterilised. Sterilisation may be achieved by autoclaving or maintaining at 90°C-100°C for half an hour, or by filtration, followed by transfer to a container by an aseptic technique. Examples of bactericidal and fungicidal agents suitable for inclusion in the drops are phenylmercuric nitrate or acetate (0.002%), benzalkonium chloride (0.01%) and chlorhexidine acetate (0.01%). Suitable solvents for the preparation of an oily solution include glycerol, diluted alcohol and propylene glycol.

Lotions according to the present invention include those suitable for application to the skin or eye. An eye lotion may comprise a sterile aqueous solution optionally containing a bactericide and may be prepared by methods similar to those described above in relation to the preparation of drops. Lotions or liniments for application to the skin may also include an agent to hasten drying and to cool the skin, such as an alcohol or acetone, and/or a moisturiser such as glycerol, or oil such as castor oil or arachis oil.

Creams, ointments or pastes according to the present invention are semi-solid formulations of the active ingredient for external application. They may be made by mixing the active ingredient in finely-divided or powdered form, alone or in solution or suspension in an aqueous or non-aqueous fluid, with a greasy or non-greasy basis. The basis may comprise hydrocarbons such as hard, soft or liquid paraffin, glycerol, beeswax, a metallic soap; a mucilage; an oil of natural origin such as almond, corn, arachis, castor or olive oil, wool fat or its derivatives, or a fatty acid such as stearic or oleic acid together with an alcohol such as propylene glycol or macrogols.

Compositions and medicaments of the present invention may incorporate any suitable surfactant such as an anionic, cationic or non-ionic surfactant such as sorbitan esters or polyoxyethylene derivatives thereof. Suspending agents such as natural gums, cellulose derivatives or inorganic materials such as silicaceous silicas, and other ingredients such as lanolin, may also be included.

Compositions and medicaments of the present invention may be administered in the form of a liposome. Suitable methods to form liposomes are known in the art, and in relation to this specific reference is made to Prescott, (Ed), (1976), "Methods in Cell Biology", Volume XIV, Academic Press, New York, N.Y. p.33 et seq.

Supplementary active ingredients such as adjuvants or biological response modifiers can also be incorporated into compositions and medicaments of the present invention.

Any suitable adjuvant may be included in compositions and medicaments of the present invention. For example, an aluminium-based adjuvant may be utilised. Suitable aluminium-based adjuvants include, but are not limited to, aluminium hydroxide, aluminium phosphate and combinations thereof. Other specific examples of aluminium- based adjuvants that may be utilised are described in European Patent No. 1216053 and US Patent No. 6,372,223. Other suitable adjuvants include Freund's Incomplete Adjuvant and Complete Adjuvant (Difco Laboratories, Detroit, Mich.); Merck Adjuvant 65 (Merck and Company, Inc., Rahway, N.J.); AS-2 (SmithKline Beecham, Philadelphia, Pa.); aluminium salts such as aluminium hydroxide gel (alum) or aluminium phosphate; salts of calcium, iron or zinc; an insoluble suspension of acylated tyrosine; acylated sugars; cationically or anionically derivatized polysaccharides; polyphosphazenes; biodegradable microspheres; monophosphoryl lipid A and quil A; oil in water emulsions including those described in European Patent No. 0399843, US Patent No. 7,029,678 and PCT Publication No. WO 2007/006939; and/or additional cytokines, such as GM-CSF or interleukin-2, -7, or -12, granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), monophosphoryl lipid A (MPL), cholera toxin (CT) or its constituent subunit, heat labile enterotoxin (LT) or its constituent subunit, toll-like receptor ligand adjuvants such as lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and derivatives thereof (e.g. monophosphoryl lipid A and 3-Deacylated monophosphoryl lipid A), muramyl dipeptide (MDP) and F protein of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV).

Another aspect of this invention is a kit comprising a therapeutically effective amount of at least one compound of formula (I), or a metabolite, pharmaceutically acceptable salt, solvate or prodrug of said compound and a pharmaceutically acceptable carrier, vehicle or diluent.

Another aspect of this invention is a kit comprising an amount of at least one compound of formula (I), or a metabolite, pharmaceutically acceptable salt, solvate or prodrug of said compound and an amount of at least one anticancer therapy and or anticancer agent listed above, wherein the amounts of the two or more ingredients result in desired therapeutic effect. Kits of the present invention may comprise components to assist in performing the methods of the present invention such as, for example, administration device(s), buffer(s), and/or diluent(s). The kits may include containers for housing the various components and instructions for using the kit components in the methods of the present invention.

In certain embodiments, the kits may be combined kits.

In other embodiments, the kits may be fragmented kits.

Dosages and routes of administration

The agents, compositions and medicaments can be administered to a recipient by standard routes, including, but not limited to, parenteral (e.g. intravenous, intraspinal, subcutaneous or intramuscular), oral, topical, or mucosal routes (e.g. intranasal). In some embodiments, they may be administered to a recipient in isolation or in combination with other additional therapeutic agent(s). In such embodiments the administration may be simultaneous or sequential.

In general, the agents, compositions and medicaments can be administered in a manner compatible with the route of administration and physical characteristics of the recipient (including health status) and in such a way that the desired effect(s) are induced (i.e. therapeutically effective, immunogenic and/or protective). For example, the appropriate dosage may depend on a variety of factors including, but not limited to, a subject's physical characteristics (e.g. age, weight, sex), whether the agent, composition or medicament is being used as single agent or adjuvant therapy, the progression (i.e. pathological state) of the cancer being treated, and other factors readily apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art.

Various general considerations when determining an appropriate dosage of the agents, compositions and medicaments are described, for example, in Gennaro et al. (Eds), (1990), "Remington's Pharmaceutical Sciences'', Mack Publishing Co., Easton, Pennsylvania, USA; and Gilman et al, (Eds), (1990), "Goodman And Gilman's: The Pharmacological Bases of Therapeutics", Pergamon Press.

A surprising advantage of the present invention is that compounds of formula (I) generally reflect a low toxicity. For example, MPL has single-dose toxicity in excess of 2000 mg per kg of body weight. As such, an agent, composition or medicament for use in the present invention ma be administered to a patient as a single dose of an amount of up to and including 2000 mg of active component(s) per kg of body weight. Moreover, another surprising advantage of using the present invention for the treatment of cancer is the generally high clinical tolerance of compounds of formula (I). For example, a dosage of 1000 mg of MPL per kg of body weight per 24 hours is well tolerated in mammals. As such, an agent, composition or medicament for use in the present invention may be administered to a patient in an amount of up to and including 1000 mg of active component(s) per kg of body weight per 24 hours.

Generally, an effective dosage is expected to be in the range of about 0.0001 mg to about 1000 mg of active component(s) per kg body weight per 24 hours; typically, about 0.001 mg to about 750 mg per kg body weight per 24 hours; about 0.01 mg to about 500 mg per kg body weight per 24 hours; about 0.1 mg to about 500 mg per kg body weight per 24 hours; about 0.1 mg to about 250 mg per kg body weight per 24 hours; or about 1.0 mg to about 250 mg per kg body weight per 24 hours. More typically, an effective dose range is expected to be in the range about 1.0 mg to about 200 mg per kg body weight per 24 hours; about 1.0 mg to about 100 mg per kg body weight per 24 hours; about 1.0 nig to about 50 mg per kg body weight per 24 hours; about 1.0 mg to about 25 mg per kg body weight per 24 hours; about 5.0 mg to about 50 mg per kg body weight per 24 hours; about 5.0 mg to about 20 mg per kg body weight per 24 hours; or about 5.0 mg to about 15 mg per kg body weight per 24 hours.

For example, a preferred dosage may be about 10 - 100 mg of the compound of formula (I) per kg of body weight per 24 hours. Further, a preferred dosage may be about 50 mg of a compound of formula (I) per kg of body weight per 24 hours.

Typically, in treatment applications, the treatment may be for the duration of the cancer. Further, it will be apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art that the optimal quantity and spacing of individual dosages can be determined by the nature and extent of the disease state or condition being treated, the form, route and site of administration, and the nature of the particular subject being treated. Optimum dosages can be determined using conventional techniques.

In many instances (e.g. preventative applications), it may be desirable to have several or multiple administrations of an agent, composition or medicament of the present invention which may, for example, be administered 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, or more times. The administrations may be from about one to about twelve week intervals, and in certain embodiments from about one to about four week intervals. Periodic re- administration is also contemplated. It will also be apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art that the optimal course of administration can be ascertained using conventional course of treatment determination tests.

Where two or more entities (e.g. agents or medicaments) are administered to a subject "in conjunction", they may be administered in a single composition at the same time, or in separate compositions at the same time, or in separate compositions separated in time.

Certain embodiments of the present invention involve administration of the agents, compositions or medicaments in multiple separate doses. Accordingly, the methods for prophylactic and therapeutic treatment described herein encompass the administration of multiple separated doses to a subject, for example, over a defined period of time. Accordingly, in some embodiments the methods include administering a priming dose, which may be followed by a booster dose. The booster may be for the purpose of re-vaccination. In various embodiments, the agent, composition or medicament is administered at least once, twice, three times or more.

The agents, compositions and medicaments may generally be administered in an effective amount to achieve an intended purpose. More specifically, they may be administered in a therapeutically effective amount which means an amount effective to prevent development of, or to alleviate the existing symptoms of, a target disease or condition. Determination of effective amounts is well within the capability of persons of ordinary skill in the art. For example, a therapeutically effective dose of the agents, compositions and medicaments can be estimated initially from cell culture assays. For example, a dose can be formulated in animal models to achieve a circulating concentration range that includes the. IC50 as determined in cell culture. Such information can be used to more accurately determine useful doses in humans and other mammalian subjects.

A therapeutically effective dose refers to that amount of the agent, composition or medicament to prevent development of symptoms, ameliorate symptoms and/or prolong the survival of the subject under treatment. Toxicity and therapeutic efficacy of the agents, compositions and medicaments can be determined by standard pharmaceutical assays in cell cultures, and/or experimental animals (e.g. by determination of the LD50 (the dose lethal to 50% of the population) and the ED50 (the dose therapeutically effective in 50% of the population)). The dose ratio between toxic and therapeutic effects is the therapeutic index which can be expressed as the ratio between LD50 and ED50. Agents, compositions and medicaments which exhibit high therapeutic indices are preferred. The data obtained from such cell culture assays and/or animal studies may be used to formulate a range of dosage for use in humans or other mammals. The dosage of such compounds lies preferably within a range of circulating concentrations that include the ED50 with little or no toxicity. The dosage may vary within this range depending upon the dosage form employed and the administration route utilised. The exact formulation, route of administration and dosage can be selected without difficulty by an individual physician in view of the subject's condition (see, for example, Fingl et al, (1975), in "The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics", Ch. 1 p. l). Dosage amount and interval may be adjusted individually to provide plasma levels of the active agent sufficient to achieve and maintain the desired therapeutic effect/s and/or a minimal effective concentration (MEC). Dosages necessary to achieve the MEC will depend on the route of administration and other individual characteristics. Bioassays and/or HPLC assays may be used to determine plasma concentrations.

Dosage intervals may also be determined using MEC value. In general, the agents, compositions and medicaments may be administered using a regimen which maintains plasma levels above the MEC for between about 10%-90% of the time, preferably between 30%-90% and more preferably between about 50%-90%. In embodiments where local administration or selective uptake is utilised, the effective local concentration of the drug may not be related to plasma concentration.

The compounds of this invention may also be useful in combination (administered together or sequentially) with one or more of anti-cancer treatments such as radiation therapy, and/or one or more anti-cancer agents selected from the group consisting of cytostatic agents, cytotoxic agents (such as for example, but not limited to, DNA interactive agents (such as cisplatin or doxorubicin)); taxanes (e.g. taxotere, taxol); topoisomerase II inhibitors (such as etoposide); topoisomerase I inhibitors (such as irinotecan (or CPT-11), camptostar, or topotecan); tubulin interacting agents (such as paclitaxel, docetaxel or the epothilones); hormonal agents (such as tamoxifen); thymidilate synthase inhibitors (such as 5-fluorouracil); anti-metabolites (such as methoxtrexate); alkylating agents (such as temozolomide (TEMODAR (TM) from Schering-Plough Corporation, Kenilworth, New Jersey), cyclophosphamide); Farnesyl protein transferase inhibitors (such as, SARAS AR (TM) (4~ [2-[4-[(l 1 R)-3,10-dibromo-8- chloro-6,1 l-dihydro-5H-benzo[5,6]cyclohepta[l ,2- b]pyridin-l l-yl-]-l-piperidinyl]-2- oxoehtyl]-l-piperidinecarboxamide, or SCH 66336 from Schering-Plough Corporation, Kenilworth, New Jersey), tipifamib (Zamestra® or Rl 15777 from Janssen Pharmaceuticals), L778.123 (a famesyl protein transferase inhibitor from Merck & Company, Whitehouse Station, New Jersey), BMS 214662 (a famesyl protein transferase inhibitor from Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceuticals, Princeton, New Jersey); signal transduction inhibitors (such as, lressa (from Astra Zeneca Pharmaceuticals, England), Tarceva (EGFR kinase inhibitors), antibodies to EGFR (e.g., C225), GLEEVEC (TM) (C-abl kinase inhibitor from Novartis Pharmaceuticals, East Hanover, New Jersey); interferons such as, for example, intron (from Schering-Plough Corporation), Peg-lntron (from Schering-Plough Corporation); hormonal therapy combinations; aromatase combinations; ara-C, adriamycin, Cytoxan, and gemcitabine.

Subjects

Prophylactic and therapeutic methods of the present invention may be applied to any suitable subject. In some embodiments, the subject is a mammalian subject. For example, the subject may be a mouse, rat, dog, cat, cow, sheep, horse or any other mammal of social, economic or research importance. Hence, the subject may be a mammal such as, for e ample, a human or a non-human mammal.

It will be appreciated by persons of ordinary skill in the art that numerous variations and/or modifications can be made to the present invention as disclosed in the specific embodiments without departing from the spirit or scope of the present invention as broadly described. The present embodiments are, therefore, to be considered in all respects as illustrative and not restrictive.

The present invention will now be described with reference to specific examples, which should not be construed as in any way limiting.

Examples Materials and Methods

Cell lines

The human ovarian cancer cell lines OVCAR-3, SKOV-3 and A2780 and primary cells human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) and all other cell lines were obtained from the American Type Culture Collection (ATCC) and maintained according to their instructions. Astrocytes arid glioma cell lines were kindly gifted by Dr. Kerry McDonald from Lowy Cancer Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Australia.

Cell proliferation assay

Cell proliferation was assessed using the sulforhodamine B (SRB) assay. Cells seeded in 96-well plate (2,000-3,000 cell/well) were treated with MPL (0, 1, 5, 10, 25, 50 and 100 μιηοΙ/L) for 72 h. Cells were then fixed, washed and stained with 100 μΐ of 0.4% (w/v) SRB dissolved in 1% acetic acid. Unbound dye was removed by five washes with 1% acetic acid before air drying. Bound SRB was solubilized with 100 μΐ of 10 mM Tris base (pH 10.5) and the absorbance read at 570 nm. Exactly the same procedure was used to assess MPL-S02. Both agents were dissolved in ethanol and diluted with media to give the final concentrations required for cell culture assays.

Cell viability assay

For viability experiments, cells seeded in 6 well plates were exposed to monepantel (MPL) at 0, 1, 10, 50 and 100 μΜ concentrations for 24, 48 or 72 h. Monepantel (gift by Novartis, Basel, Switzerland) was dissolved in 100% ethanol and then diluted with the cell culture media. At the end of treatment period, cells were washed with PBS, trypsinized and counted using Trypan blue and hemocytometer. All experimental points were set up in quadruplicate and each experiment was performed at least twice.

Colony formation assay

For colony formation assay, 5xl0 6 cells, such as OVCAR-3 or A2780 cells, were plated in 100 mm Petri dishes and allowed to attach overnight. Media were aspirated off and exponentially growing cells were incubated with various concentrations of MPL for 72 h. At this point, the medium was aspirated, the dishes were washed with PBS, and drug free medium was added to each plate. Media were changed twice weekly for 3 weeks. Following this, plates were gently washed with PBS and cells were fixed with 100% ethanol and stained with a 0.5% solution of filtered crystal violet. Colonies consisting of more than 50 cells were counted under an inverted microscope.

Cell cycle analysis

The effect of MPL on the cell cycle was determined using standard flow cytometry analysis protocols and procedures. Briefly, 0.7* 10 6 million cells seeded in 25 cm flasks and allowed to adhere overnight were treated with MPL for 24 or 48 h. Cells were collected with trypsinization and pooled with the cells floating in the medium. The cell suspensions were centrifuged, washed with PBS and fixed with methanol. Cells were then washed, resuspended in propodium iodide and ribonuclease A in PBS for 30 min at room temperature and analyzed by flow cytometry (Becton Dickinson FACSort).

Western blot analysis

Protein expression in cells was determined using western blot analysis. After treatment with the indicated concentrations of MPL, cell lysates were prepared and probed with antibodies for cdk2, cdk4, cyclin A, cyclin E, PARP-1 (1 :1000 dilutions; Cell Signalling Technology), and p53 (1 :200 dilutions; Santa Cruz Biotechnology). Comparable loading of proteins on the gel was verified by re-probing the blots with a GAPDH antibody (1 :30000 dilutions; Sigma- Aldrich).

In vivo experiments

Female nude mice (6 weeks old) were purchased from Biological Resources (University of New South Wales). Institutional animal ethics approvals covered procedures carried out on mice. Briefly, 2.5 * 10 6 log-phase growing OVCAR-3 cells were injected s.c. into the left flank of each mouse. Animals were weighed once weekly while their tumor volumes were determined twice weekly. Tumor growth was monitored by caliper measurements of orthogonal diameters, and the estimated tumor volume was calculated based on the formula 1/2 (Length χ Width 2 ), where width is the shorter of the two orthogonal measurements. Based on institutional ethics approval, mice were euthanized before the tumor volume reached 500 mm3. Treatment was initiated on day 8 post tumor cell inoculation when mice were randomized and assigned to one of MPL or vehicle treated groups (5-6 mice per group). MPL was suspended in hydroperoxy methylcellulose (0.5% w/v HPMC), sterilized by sonnicator and administered every other day either intraperitoneally (i.p) or orally as gavage (100 μί).

In the first pilot trial, the drug was administered i.p. at 2.5 or 25 mg/kg body weight, three times weekly for 2 weeks.

Following the outcome, in the next set of animals, the dose was increased to 25 and 50 mg/kg, three times weekly.

In the last (third) pilot study, mice were treated orally. The doses administered were 50 and 100 mg/kg three times weekly. In all these trials, mice in control groups received similar volume of the vehicle (0.5% HPMC). Tumor histology/immunohistochemistry was performed on formalin fixed tumor slices according to standard procedures.

Statistical analysis

All data are reported as the mean ± standard errors (S.E.M.) from at least two independent experiments. Differences in tumor volume between MPL treated versus control group were analysed using one way ANOVA with post hoc Dunnett test. Quantitative variables were compared using the Student's t test. Significant statistical difference was defined at P < 0.05.

Results

MPL inhibits cell proliferation

The effect of MPL was examined on the growth of ovarian cancer cell lines of OVCAR- 3, A2780 and SKOV-3. By employing the SRB assay, the effect of MPL on cell proliferation was examined. MPL inhibited proliferation of OVCAR-3, A2780 and SKOV-3 cells in a concentration-dependent manner with IC50 values of 6.3, 10.0 and 29.3 respectively, according to Table 1. It is evident from these results that ovarian cancer cell lines are sensitive to the anti-proliferative effects of MPL. SKOV-3 cells were the least sensitive. MPL-S02 was also tested in a similar manner using the SRB proliferation assay. It was found that MPL-S02 is as potent as MPL. MPL-S02 reduced viability of cancer cell-lines growing in culture and inhibited cell proliferation. IC50 values for MPL-S02 are presented in Table 1.

The inhibitory effect of MPL on cell proliferation was also tested on a range of cells, such as breast, prostate and mesothelioma cells. Results obtained are presented in Table 1. Further results are presented in Table 2.

Table 1: IC50 values for MPL and MPL-S02 (72 h in vitro treatment, SRB assay)

Cell Lines Type of cancer ICso (μΜ)

MPL MPL-S02

OVCAR-3 Ovarian cancer 6.3 5.5 A2780 Ovarian cancer 10.0 4.2

SKOV-3 Ovarian cancer 29.3 26

IGROV-1 Ovarian cancer 6.1 -

1A9 Ovarian cancer 1.8 4.8

T47-D Breast cancer 5.7 -

MDA-MB-231 Breast cancer 24.0 23.6

MCF-7 Breast cancer - 7.3

PET Mesothelioma 26.3 -

YOU Mesothelioma 23.1 -

PC-3 Prostate cancer 21.6 -

DU-145 Prostate Cancer > 23.5 -

U87 Glioblastoma 26.2 20.5

HUVEC Human Umbilical Vein 87.8 47.8

Endothelial Cells

CHO Chinese Hamster Ovary - 73.7

HEK Human Embryonic Kidney 50.5 -

Table 2: IC50 values for MPL and MPL-S02 in suppressing proliferation of various cancer cell lines.

ICso (μΜ)

Cell Line Cell Type

MPL MPL-S02

OVCAR-3 Ovarian Cancer 6.3 ± 0.8 *** 5.5 ± 1.3 *** A2780 Ovarian Cancer 10 ±3.8** 4.2 ±2.1 **

SKOV-3 Ovarian Cancer 31.18 ±0.76*** 26

IGROV-1 Ovarian Cancer 4.4 ±0.27** 4.4 ± 1.5**

1A9 Ovarian Cancer 2.5 ±0.45** 3.42 ±0.1**

T47-D Breast Cancer 5.3 ± 0.003** 10.2 ±0.6**

MDA-MB-231 Breast Cancer 23.8 ±0.2** 21.6±7.5***

MCF-7 Breast Cancer 15.4 ± 1.1** 8.0 ±0.7**

PET Mesothelioma 26 -

YOU Mesothelioma 23 -

PC-3 Prostate Cancer 21 -

DU-145 Prostate Cancer 23 -

SW-876 Liposarcoma 14.57 -

HT-1080 Fibrosarcoma 17.16 -

U87 Glioma 18 -t 7.1** 20.5 ± 1.0 **

LN-18 Glioma 9.38 ±0.79** 6.64 ±0.71**

T98G Glioma 18.2 ±0.61 25.4 ±0.28**

U251 Glioma 17 ± 1.2** -

HCT-116 Colorectal Cancer 10.5 ±0.02** 22.5 ± 5.7**

HT-29, Colorectal Cancer 5.86 ±0.2** 2.75 ±0.7**

HT-295ml 1 Colorectal Cancer 10.4 21.7

Epithelial

HeLa 15.8 ±0.3** 18.2 ±2.6**

(Adenocarcinoma) Human Umbilical

HUVEC Vein Endothelial 87 47

Cells

Chinese Hamster

CHO 34.61 ±0.789*** 73.7 ±6.0**

Ovary

Human Embryonic

HEK 34.57 ±0.86** - Kidney

3T3 Fibroblast 12.41 ±0.37** 11.2 ± 1.1**.

HaCat Keratinocyte 21.2 ±3.2** 42.68 ± 8.0**

Human Fetus

Astrocytes 85.55±2.7** - Astrocytes

No star = one determination, ** = two repetitions, *** = three repetitions

Table 3:

OVCAR-3, A2780 are human epithelial ovarian cancer; CHO = Chinese hamster ovarian cells; HUVEC = human umbilical vein endothelial cells

AAD

According to Table 3, "MPL-(Z?)" refers to N-[(lV?)-l-cyano-2-(5-cyano-2- trifluoromethyl-phenoxy)- 1 -methyl-ethyl]-4-trifluoromethylsulfanyl-benzamide, and "MPL-(S)" refers to N-[(15)-l-cyano-2-(5-cyano-2-trifluoromethyl-phenoxy)-l-meth yl- ethyl]-4-trifluoromethylsulfanyl-benzamide.

According to the results shown in Table 3, the ratio of IC50 values (normal cell/cancer cell) for AADs 907, 1336, 1470 and 2224 (MPL-(i?)) show particularly high activity. Further, AADs 2224 (MPL-( ?)) and AAD 1566 ( PL-(S ) were found to be equipotent. It is noted that the (i?)-enantiomer MPL-(.K) has previously been shown to have no anthelmintic activity. In brief, MPL and MPL-S02 were tested in vitro against a wide range of cancer cell-lines with extensively different disease characteristics. For further detailed studies, human ovarian cancer cell lines OVCAR-3 and A2780 were chosen. Additionally, normal human ovarian surface epithelial cells (HOSE) and were cultured in the presence of MPL (0, 5, 10, 25, 50 and 100 μΜ) for 72 h. Cell viability was assessed using Trypan blue assay (Figure 8). Similarly, effect of MPL on the growth of normal epithelial, endothelial, embryonic and fetal cells were investigated (Figure 9) while cell proliferation was assessed using the SRB assay (Figure 10). Control (vehicle treated) cells were taken to present 100% proliferation and the MPL treated groups are expressed as percentage of control ± SEM. Each drug concentration was tested in quadruplicate and each experiment was repeated at least twice. For statistical comparisons, each drug treated group is compared to the control group using Student's t test. To examine concentration dependent drug effect, analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used. P values are: * = < 0.05; ** <0.01 and *** = < 0.001, **** p< 0.0001. Results presented in Table 2 reveal that MPL exerts high antiproliferative activity in cancer cell lines, whereas, normal cells are far less affected. In order to find out if the MPL effect is mediated through the nicotinic acetyl choline receptor and in particular the nACHR7 subtype, cells were pretreated with antagonists and then exposed to MPL (Figure 1 1).

Results obtained for MPL-S02 are also presented. It can be seen that MPL-S02 acts in a similar order as the parent drug MPL. The range of IC50 values are very close and suggest that MPL-S02 is as effective as MPL in suppressing cancer cell proliferation (Table 2).

MPL inhibits colony formation

To investigate whether MPL also hinders the reproductive integrity and the ability of cell lines to establish colonies, the clonogenic activity of cells exposed to MPL was investigated. Following 72 h exposure to various concentrations of MPL, cells were washed and then incubated in drug free media for 2 weeks. It was found that MPL profoundly hinders colony formation by these cells. Higher concentrations of MPL led to almost complete loss of clonogenic ability (Figure 2).

To determine the effect of MPL on cell integrity and capacity to rid itself from drug effects following drug exposure and withdrawal, cells were incubated with MPL (0, 5, 10, 25 μΜ) for 72 h, washed with PBS, transferred to agar plates, cultured with growth medium and incubated under standard conditions for 2 weeks. Cells were then fixed with 100% methanol and stained with 1% crystal violet. Colonies (Cluster of cells greater than 50) were counted under microscope (magnification χ 5). Number of colonies counted for different experimental groups is expressed as percentage of the control (Figure 14). These results demonstrate concentration-dependent inhibition of colony formation by MPL.

MPL arrests cell cycle through down regulating the expression of cyclines and cycline

- dependent kinases

To investigate the mechanism(s) through which MPL inhibits cell proliferation and colony formation, the effect of the MPL on the cell cycle by means of flow cytometry was examined. It was found that MPL interferes with the cell cycle progression (Figure 3). Progression of cells exposed to MPL was arrested in the Gl phase in a concentration and time-dependent manner. Accumulation of cells in the Gl phase was accompanied by sharp decline of percentage of cells in the S and G2-M phases. To study the molecular mechanisms involved in the MPL-induced cell cycle arrest, the expression of cell cycle regulatory proteins cdk2, cdk4, cyclins A, and E was examined. MPL treated cells expressed lower levels of cdk2, cdk4, cyclins A, and E (Figure 4).

MPL arrests cell cycle through down regulating the expression of cyclines and cycline

- dependent kinases leading to induction of PARP-1 cleavage.

To find out the mechanism(s) through which MPL inhibits cell proliferation and colony formation, the effect of MPL on the cell cycle was examined by means of flow cytometry (FACS). It was found that MPL interferes with the cell cycle progression (Figure 22). In cells exposed to MPL cell cycle was arrested in the Gl phase in a concentration and time-dependent manner. Accumulation of cells in the Gl phase was accompanied by sharp decline in percentage of cells in the S and G2-M phases. To study the molecular mechanisms involved in the MPL-induced cell cycle arrest, the expression of cell cycle regulatory proteins cdk2, cdk4, cyclins A, and E was examined. MPL treated cells expressed lower levels of cdk2, cdk4, cyclin E, and cyclin A (Figures 4 and 16).

MPL induces PARP~1 cleavage

To investigate whether the MPL-induced cell death involves cleavage of PARP, western blot analysis of lysates of MPL-treated cells for PARP-1 and cleaved PARP-1 was carried out. Cleavage of PARP-1 promotes apoptosis by preventing DNA-repair- induced survival. PARP helps cells to maintain their viability and hence cleavage of PARP facilitates cellular disassembly and serves as marker of cells undergoing apoptosis. Figure 5 shows that PARP was cleaved in MPL treated cells.

MPL induces PARP cleavage

Western blot analysis of cell lysates prepared from MPL treated OVCAR-3 and A2780 cells showing highly induced cleavage of PARP representing cell death (Figure 17).

MPL reduces cellular A TP levels

As depicted in Figures 18A and 18B, treatment of OVCAR-3 or A2780 cells with MPL causes a reduction in ATP levels found in the cell.

MPL induces autophag

Figure 6 shows that the treatment of cells with MPL leads to the formation of vacuoles suggesting that MPL may be inducing autophagy in these cells. Figure 7 shows that MPL treatment reduces the cellular ratio of ADP/ATP, which is another indicator of cellular autophagy.

MPL suppresses rate of s.c. xenografts growth in nude mice

Figures 1 -21 shows in vivo testing of the MPL in nude mice. Mice bearing OVCAR-3 tumors were treated either first i.p. or, as according to the last experiment, orally. Results obtained reveal the activity of the administered doses and in particular the 50 mg/kg dose (both i.p. and oral) in profoundly retarding tumor growth in these animals. Tumor histology revealed massive areas of tumor cell death (Figure 22).

The inhibition of cell proliferation coupled with suppression of colony formation, and the in vivo results show a growth regulatory effect for MPL. MPL interference is shown with the cell cycle progression through reducing expression of cell cycle regulatory proteins A and E2 together with their kinases cdk2 and cdk4. In the normal cell, the transition from one phase to another occurs in an orderly fashion well regulated by various proteins. Cyclin-dependent kinases (CDK) are the key regulatory proteins that are activated at specific points of the cell cycle thus playing a crucial role in cell cycle progression. These require different cyclins at different phases of the cycle. Cyclins A, D and E are required for the Gl and Gl transition to S phase of the cell cycle. Of the various CDKs identified so far, CDK2 and CDK4 seem essential for entry in Gl and Gl-S transition. Cyclins A and E bind to CDK2 while cyclin D binds to CDK4 and CD 6. Cancer is one of several diseases considered to be a cell cycle related phenomenon.

Results presented in Figures 19-21 demonstrate MPL activity in suppressing s.c. tumor growth in female nude mice. The initial trial revealed dose-dependent activity of i.p. MPL administration. The 25 mg/kg dose was particularly effective. On this basis, the next trial was conducted using 25 and 50 mg/kg doses under the same conditions as before. The 50 mg/kg dose was more effective in retarding tumor growth in these animals. As an anti-parasitic agent, MPL has been shown to be orally effective in a number of animal models. The oral therapeutic activity of 50 and 100 mg/kg doses of MPL were tested. In all three pilot trials, MPL was prepared in 0.5% HPMC and administered as a suspension. Examination of tumor tissue from these in vivo trial revealed areas with extensive necrosis in the MPL treated tumors (Figure 22).

The effects observed are not limited to ovarian cancer, as shown in Tables 1 and 2, and MPL effectively suppresses in vitro cell proliferation in a variety of cell lines representing various cancers including, glioma, prostate, breast, mesothelioma, liposarcoma, fibrosarcoma (see Tables 1 and 2).

Another important observation is the activity of MPL against chemo-resistant cell lines. Ovarian chemo-resistant cells, glioma temozolimide resistant cells and breast cancer tamoxifen resistant cells were all sensitive to MPL antiproliferative action.

In conclusion, the results demonstrate that in cancer cell-lines, MPL and potentially its metabolites and analogues (AADs):

1- Inhibit cell proliferation;

2- MPL-induced inhibition is neither positively nor negatively affected by pre- treatment with nicotinic agonists or antagonists indicating that the mode of action is not nicotine receptor mediated;

2- inhibit colony formation;

3- Arrest cell cycle [Gl phase];

4- Down regulate cell-cycle regulatory proteins (CdK2, CdK4, cyclin A, cyclin E);

5- Blocks thymidine incorporation into the cell thus inhibits DNA synthesis;

6- Reduces cellular ATP levels; 7- Causes progressive autophagy as confirmed by conversion of LC3B-I into LC3B-II;

8- Autophagy was microscopically clear in both ovarian and glioma cancer cell lines;

9- MPL also induces cleavage of PARP-1 and thus cell death;

10- This is confirmed by in vivo data showing dose-dependent suppression of tumors in nude mice bearing s.c. tumors;

1 1- Both i.p. and oral routes of administration were effective.

Furthermore, MPL inhibits proliferation of cells resistant to some standard chemotherapy.

Discussion

As shown in Table 1, MPL was also tested on HUVECs. It was found that the IC50 value is about 10 times higher than the IC50 value , in OVCAR-3, which reflects the higher cytotoxic potency of MPL on cancerous than non-cancerous cells.

In colony formation assays, MPL suppressed formation of colonies by ovarian cancer cell lines growing on agar plates in a concentration-dependent manner and therefore further demonstrates the efficacy of MPL to inhibit the growth of cancer cells.

In addition, it has been shown that irrespective of the p53 status of the [OVCAR-3 (mutated), SKOV-3 (null) and A2780 (wild type)] cells, MPL exerted its anti-cancer effects (albeit ait different potencies). This suggests that MPL would be effective in epithelial ovarian cancers irrespective of their tumor p53 status. This finding may be of importance as p53 mutation is highly common in a wide range of cancers.

It is to be understood that the effects shown by MPL may be extended to other types of cancers in addition to ovarian cancer.

The mammalian cell cycle is governed by sequential activation of the Cdks. Progression through the Gl phase and entry into the S phase is regulated by Cdk2 complexed with cyclin A and cyclin E. Therefore, suppressing the expression of these regulatory proteins disrupts the cell cycle progress.

Inhibition of cell proliferation and colony formation is concentration-dependent on MPL. A possible mechanism by which MPL disrupts cell cycle progression is down- regulation of cell cycle regulatory proteins E and A and the cycline-dependent kinases Cdk4 and Cdk2, causing Gl arrest. As a result of Gl arrest, cells do not progress onto the next stage of the cycle as shown by a dramatic reduction of cells in the S and G2-M phases over time. The percentage of cells in the G2-M phase of the vehicle treated group was more than three times higher than those in the group treated with 25 μΜ MPL.

Furthermore, the evidence of autophagy in the cancer cell lines treated with MPL strongly suggests that the cells are irreversibly exiting the cell-cycle via a Go phase cell cycle arrest.




 
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