Conscious of the potential bioactivity of fluorine, an investigation was conducted using various fluorine-containing diaryliodonium salts in order to study and compare their biological activity against human lymphoma U937 cells. Most of the compounds tested are well-known reagents for fluoro-functionalized arylation reactions in synthetic organic chemistry, but their biological properties are not fully understood. Herein, after initially investigating 18 fluoro-functionalized reagents, we discovered that the ortho-fluorofunctionalized diaryliodonium salt reagents showed remarkable cytotoxicity in vitro. These results led us to synthesize more compounds, previously unknown sterically demanding diaryliodonium salts having a pentafluorosulfanyl (SF5) functional group at the ortho-position, that is, unsymmetrical ortho-SF5 phenylaryl-λ3-iodonium salts. Newly synthesized mesityl(2-(pentafluoro-λ6-sulfanyl)phenyl)iodonium exhibited the greatest potency in vitro against U937 cells. Evaluation of the cytotoxicity of selected phenylaryl-λ3-iodonium salts against AGLCL (a normal human B cell line) was also examined.
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