Synthesis and Cytotoxicity Studies of Br-Substituted Salphen Organic Compounds

Gustavo A. Zelada-Guillén, Jesús A. Ríos-Arce, Mario A. Leyva-Peralta, Marcos Flores-Álamo, Juan Carlos Gálvez-Ruíz, Kadiya Calderón, Martha V. Escárcega-Bobadilla*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


We present the synthesis and characterization of organic Salphen compounds containing bromine substituents at the para/ortho-para positions, in their symmetric and non-symmetric versions, and describe the X-ray structure and full characterization for the new unsymmetrical varieties. We report for the first time antiproliferative activity in metal-free brominated Salphen compounds, by evaluations in four human cancer cell lines, cervix (HeLa), prostate (PC-3), lung (A549) and colon (LS 180) and one non-cancerous counterpart (ARPE-19). We assessed in vitro cell viability against controls using the MTT assay ((3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyl-2H-tetrazolium bromide)) and determined the concentration required for 50 % growth inhibition (IC50), together with their selectivity vs. non-cancerous cells. We found promising results against prostate (9.6 μM) and colon (13.5 μM) adenocarcinoma cells. We also found a tradeoff between selectivity (up to 3-fold vs. ARPE-19) and inhibition, depending upon the symmetry and bromine-substitution of the molecules, showing up to 20-fold higher selectivity vs. doxorubicin controls.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere202200972
JournalChemistry and Biodiversity
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Chemistry & Biodiversity published by Wiley-VHCA AG, Zurich, Switzerland.


  • Brominated salphen compounds
  • Schiff bases
  • antiproliferative activity
  • metal-free anti-cancer drugs
  • selectivity index


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