Evaluation of substituted N,N′-diarylsulfonamides as activators of the tumor cell specific M2 isoform of pyruvate kinase
The metabolism of cancer cells is altered to support rapid proliferation. Pharmacological activators of a tumor cell specific pyruvate kinase isozyme (PKM2) may be an approach for altering the classic Warburg effect characteristic of aberrant metabolism in cancer cells yielding a novel antiproliferation strategy. In this manuscript, we detail the discovery of a series of substituted N,N'-diarylsulfonamides as activators of PKM2. The synthesis of numerous analogues and the evaluation of structure-activity relationships are presented as well as assessments of mechanism and selectivity. Several agents are found that have good potencies and appropriate solubility for use as chemical probes of PKM2 including 55 (AC(50) = 43 nM, maximum response = 84%; solubility = 7.3 microg/mL), 56 (AC(50) = 99 nM, maximum response = 84%; solubility = 5.7 microg/mL), and 58 (AC(50) = 38 nM, maximum response = 82%; solubility = 51.2 microg/mL). The small molecules described here represent first-in-class activators of PKM2.