Over the last few years, thalidomide has become one of the most important anti-tumour drugs for the treatment of relapsed-refractory multiple myeloma. However, besides its undesirable teratogenic side effect, its configurational instability critically limits any further therapeutic improvements of this drug. In 1999, we developed fluoro-thalidomide which is a bioisostere of thalidomide, but, in sharp contrast to the latter, it is configurationally stable and readily available in both enantiomeric forms. The biological activity of fluoro-thalidomide however, still remains virtually unstudied, with the exception that fluoro-thalidomide is not teratogenic. Herein, we report the first biological evaluation of fluoro-thalidomide in racemic and in both (R)- and (S)-enantiomerically pure forms against (in vitro) H929 cells of multiple myeloma (MM) using an annexin V assay. We demonstrate that all fluoro-thalidomides inhibited the growth of H929 MM cells without any in-vivo activation. Furthermore, we report that the enantiomeric forms of fluoro-thalidomide display different anti-tumour activities, with the (S)-enantiomer being noticeably more potent. The angiogenesis of fluoro-thalidomides is also investigated and compared to thalidomide. The data obtained in this study paves the way towards novel pharmaceutical research on fluoro-thalidomides.
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