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Quinoline-based molecules targeting c-Met, EGF, and VEGF receptors and the proteins involved in related carcinogenic pathways


The quinoline ring system has long been known as a versatile nucleus in the design and synthesis of biologically active compounds. Currently, more than one hundred quinoline compounds have been approved in therapy as antimicrobial, local anaesthetic, antipsychotic, and anticancer drugs. In drug discovery, indeed, over the last few years, an increase in the publication of papers and patents about quinoline derivatives possessing antiproliferative properties has been observed. This trend can be justified by the versatility and accessibility of the quinoline scaffold, from which new derivatives can be easily designed and synthesized. Within the numerous quinoline small molecules developed as antiproliferative drugs, this review is focused on compounds effective on c-Met, VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor), and EGF (epidermal growth factor) receptors, pivotal targets for the activation of important carcinogenic pathways (Ras/Raf/MEK and PI3K/AkT/mTOR). These signalling cascades are closely connected and regulate the survival processes in the cell, such as proliferation, apoptosis, differentiation, and angiogenesis. The antiproliferative biological data of remarkable quinoline compounds have been analysed, confirming the pivotal importance of this ring system in the efficacy of several approved drugs. Furthermore, in view of an SAR (structure-activity relationship) study, the most recurrent ligand–protein interactions of the reviewed molecules are summarized.