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Keywords:

  • Alkylphosphocholines;
  • Antitumor agents;
  • Exploratory data analysis;
  • Hemolytic potential;
  • Molecular modeling

Abstract

Alkylphosphocholines (APC) are promising antitumor agents, which have the cellular membrane as primary target; however, red blood cell damage limits their wide therapeutic use. A variety of APC analogs has been synthesized and tested showing less hemolytic effect than the class prototype, Miltefosine (HePC). In this work, chemometric methods were applied to a set of 34 APC derivatives to identify the most relevant structural and molecular features of hemolytic activity. The APC derivatives were divided into three groups: (i) N-methylpiperidine and N-methylmorpholine derivatives with a long alkyl chain or flexible cyclopentadecyl rings, displaying a hemolytic rate of 17 %; (ii) adamantyl and cyclopentadecyl derivatives, showing an average hemolysis of 39 %; and, N,N,N-trimethylammonium, trans-N,N,N-trimethylcyclohexanamine, and trans-N,N,N-trimethylcyclopentanamine derivatives, whose average hemolysis was 41 %. The findings suggested that the presence of either bulky cationic head groups, or rings such as adamantyl and cyclohexyl, primarily increases the hemolysis of compounds with eleven atoms in the alkyl chain. Moreover, the macrocyclic cyclopentadecyl seems to be important to the hemolytic potential especially of compounds with five carbon atoms in the alkyl chain. Regarding linear carbon chain derivatives with no ring substitution, less bulky cationic head groups seem to favor hemolysis. Thus, in order to design more potent and less toxic APC antitumors, the reported structural/molecular patterns should not be included in their structure.