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The ability of a series of polysulphonated naphthylureas structurally related to suramin to inhibit basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) or serum-stimulated growth of endothelial cells [either large vessel, human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) or microvascular, bovine adrenal capillary endothelial (BACE) cells] and angiogenesis in vivo has been examined. The polyanions encompassed two main structural variations, namely the number of aromatic amide groups intervening between two terminal naphthyl rings and/or variation in the substitution pattern of the naphthyl rings. The polyanions were either inactive (group I) or inhibited (group II) bFGF-stimulated uptake of [3H]methylthymidine by BACE cells. Group I compounds shared a common structural feature in that they were simple binaphthyl-substituted ureas. In contrast, group II compounds all had an extended multiple ring structure with at least two aromatic groups intervening between the two terminal naphthyl rings. Compounds with either two or four intervening groups were equipotent in blocking bFGF in vitro. However, compounds with two bridging aromatic groups were 5- to 10-fold less toxic than suramin in mice, suggesting a potential for an improved therapeutic ratio. The ability of the polyanions to block bFGF-driven endothelial cell proliferation in vitro correlated with antiangiogenic activity in vivo as shown by use of the rat sponge angiogenesis model. These observations could substantially widen the anti-tumour therapeutic opportunities for this class of compound.

Original publication




Journal article


Br J Cancer

Publication Date





890 - 898


Animals, Capillaries, Cattle, Cell Division, Cells, Cultured, Dose-Response Relationship, Drug, Endothelium, Vascular, Female, Fibroblast Growth Factor 2, Inflammation, Male, Mice, Mice, Inbred C3H, Neovascularization, Pathologic, Pentosan Sulfuric Polyester, Rats, Rats, Wistar, Structure-Activity Relationship, Suramin, Thymidine