Synthesis and Evaluation of Apoptotic Induction of Human Cancer Cells by Ester Derivatives of Thujone

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Medicinal Chemistry Research


Thujone (1), thujol (2), and aromatic thujol esters (3–9) were evaluated for their ability to induce cell death in human cervical (HeLa), melanoma (A375), and colon (HCT-116) cancer cell lines, using etoposide as a positive control. The compounds showed dose-dependent activity at concentrations ranging from 50–400 μg/mL. Etoposide exhibited an IC50 value of 116 μg/ mLin HeLa cells, and α-thujone, α/β-thujone (7:1), and thujol showed comparable activity with IC50 values of 191, 198, and 1234567890();,: 1234567890();,: 136 μg/mL, respectively. All seven ester derivatives were cytotoxic to HeLa and HCT-116 cells, while a subset was cytotoxic to A375 cells. In HeLa cells, t-cinnamate (4), t-isonicotinate (5), t-nicotinate (6), and t-furoate (8) were more potent than either α-thujone or α/β-thujone. Similarly, t-furoate (8) was more potent than thujone in A375 cells, and t-isonicotinate (5) and t-nicotinate (6) were more potent against HCT-116 cells. Based on cell morphology, PARP cleavage and an increase in the caspase-3/7 levels, the esters exert their cytotoxic effects by induction of apoptosis.

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