Harmine is a beta-carboline alkaloid found in medicinal plant PeganumHarmala, which has served as a folk anticancer medicine. However, clinical applications of harmine were limited by its low pharmacological effects and noticeable neurotoxicity. In this study, we modified harmine to increase the therapeutic efficacy and to decrease the systemic toxicity. Specifically, two tumor targeting harmine derivatives 2DG-Har-01 and MET-Har-02 were synthesized by modifying substituent in position-2, -7 and -9 of harmine ring with two different targeting group2-amino-2-deoxy-D-glucose (2DG) and Methionine (Met), respectively. Their therapeutic efficacy and toxicity were investigated both in vitro and in vivo. Results suggested that the two newharmine derivatives displayed much higher therapeutic effects than nonmodified harmine. In particular, MET-Har-02 was more potent than 2DG-Har-01 with promising potential for targeted cancer therapy.
Li, S., Wang, A., Gu, F., Wang, Z., Tian, C., Qian, Z., … Gu, Y. (2015). Novel harmine derivatives for tumor targeted therapy. Oncotarget, 6(11). https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.3276