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Discovery of 5-(Piperidin-4-yl)-1,2,4-oxadiazole Derivatives as a New Class of Human Caseinolytic Protease P Agonists for the Treatment of Hepatocellular Carcinoma.

Chemical agonism of human caseinolytic protease P (HsClpP) is increasingly being recognized as a potential anticancer strategy due to its critical role in maintaining mitochondrial homeostasis. We unveil the discovery of 5-(piperidin-4-yl)-1,2,4-oxadiazole derivatives as a novel class of HsClpP agonists and demonstrate for the first time the application of HsClpP agonists in the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) (Pace, A.; Pierro, P. The new era of 1,2,4-oxadiazoles. Org. Biomol. Chem . 2009, 7 (21), 4337-4348). Compound SL44 exhibited potent HsClpP agonistic activity in the α-casein hydrolysis assay (EC50 = 1.30 μM) and inhibited the proliferation of HCCLM3 cells (IC50 = 3.1 μM, 21.4-fold higher than hit ADX-47273). Mechanistically, SL44 induces degradation of respiratory chain complex subunits and leads to apoptosis in HCC cells. In vivo results demonstrated that SL44 has potent tumor growth inhibitory activity and has a superior safety profile compared to the kinase inhibitor sorafenib. Overall, we developed a novel class of HsClpP agonists that can potentially be used for the treatment of HCC.

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