We describe herein an enantioselective total synthesis of (−)-exiguolide, the natural enantiomer. The methylene bis(tetrahydropyran) substructure was efficiently synthesized by exploiting olefin cross-metathesis for the assembly of readily available acyclic segments and intramolecular oxa-conjugate cyclization and reductive etherification for the formation of the tetrahydropyran rings. The 20-membered macrocyclic framework was constructed in an efficient manner by means of Julia–Kocienski coupling and Yamaguchi macrolactonization. Finally, the (E,Z,E)-triene side chain was introduced stereoselectively via Suzuki–Miyaura coupling to complete the total synthesis. Assessment of the growth inhibitory activity of synthetic (−)-exiguolide against a panel of human cancer cell lines elucidated for the first time that this natural product is an effective antiproliferative agent against the NCI-H460 human lung large cell carcinoma and the A549 human lung adenocarcinoma cell lines. Moreover, we have investigated structure–activity relationships of (−)-exiguolide, which elucidated that the C5-methoxycarbonylmethylidene group and the length of the side chain are important for the potent activity.
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