A Selective ATP-Binding Cassette Subfamily G Member 2 Efflux Inhibitor Revealed via High-Throughput Flow Cytometry.
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Chemotherapeutics tumor resistance is a principal reason for treatment failure, and clinical and experimental data indicate that multidrug transporters such as ATP-binding cassette (ABC) B1 and ABCG2 play a leading role by preventing cytotoxic intracellular drug concentrations. Functional efflux inhibition of existing chemotherapeutics by these pumps continues to present a promising approach for treatment. A contributing factor to the failure of existing inhibitors in clinical applications is limited understanding of specific substrate/inhibitor/pump interactions. We have identified selective efflux inhibitors by profiling multiple ABC transporters against a library of small molecules to find molecular probes to further explore such interactions. In our primary screening protocol using JC-1 as a dual-pump fluorescent reporter substrate, we identified a piperazine-substituted pyrazolo[1,5-a]pyrimidine substructure with promise for selective efflux inhibition. As a result of a focused structure-activity relationship (SAR)-driven chemistry effort, we describe compound 1 (CID44640177), an efflux inhibitor with selectivity toward ABCG2 over ABCB1. Compound 1 is also shown to potentiate the activity of mitoxantrone in vitro as well as preliminarily in vivo in an ABCG2-overexpressing tumor model. At least two analogues significantly reduce tumor size in combination with the chemotherapeutic topotecan. To our knowledge, low nanomolar chemoreversal activity coupled with direct evidence of efflux inhibition for ABCG2 is unprecedented.