Medicinal Chemistry Research

, Volume 26, Issue 12, pp 3136–3148 | Cite as

Synthesis, biological evaluation and in silico study of bis-thiourea derivatives as anticancer, antimalarial and antimicrobial agents

  • Ratchanok Pingaew
  • Nujarin Sinthupoom
  • Prasit Mandi
  • Veda Prachayasittikul
  • Rungrot Cherdtrakulkiat
  • Supaluk Prachayasittikul
  • Somsak Ruchirawat
  • Virapong Prachayasittikul
Original Research


Two sets of bis-thioureas including a para series (814) and a meta series (4, 5, 1519), were synthesized and evaluated for their anticancer, antimalarial and antimicrobial activities. Most of the synthesized bis-thioureas, except for analogs 811, displayed cytotoxicity against MOLT-3 cell line (IC50 = 1.55–32.32 µM). Derivatives 5, 14, 18 and 19 showed a broad spectrum of anticancer activity. Analogs (4, 5, 8, 13, 14, 18 and 19) exhibited higher inhibitory efficacy in HepG2 cells than the control drug, etoposide. Significantly, bis-trifluoromethyl analog 19 was the promising potent cytotoxic agent (IC50 = 1.50–18.82 µM) with the best safety index (1.64–20.60). Antimalarial activity results showed that trifluoromethyl derivative 18 was the most potent compound (IC50 = 1.92 µM, selective index = 6.86). Antimicrobial activity revealed that bis-thioureas 12, 18 and 19 exhibited selective activity against Gram-positive bacteria and fungi. Promisingly, the bis-trifluoromethyl derivative 19 was the most potent compound in the series and displayed higher potency, against most of the Gram-positive bacteria and fungi, than that of ampicillin, the reference drug. Among the tested strains of microorganisms, compound 19 inhibited the growth of Staphylococcus epidermidis ATCC 12228 and Micrococcus luteus ATCC 10240 with the lowest MIC of 1.47 µM. The findings demonstrated that trifluoromethyl group plays a crucial role in their biological activities. Furthermore, the molecular docking was performed to reveal possible binding modes of the compounds against target proteins.


Thiourea Trifluoromethyl group Anticancer activity Antimalarial activity Antimicrobial activity Molecular docking 



This project is financially supported by Srinakharinwirot University (grant no. 497/2559). Great supports from the office of the Higher Education Commission and Mahidol University under the National Research Universities Initiative are appreciated. We are also indebted to Chulabhorn Research Institute for recording mass spectra and bioactivity testing.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Supplementary material

44_2017_2008_MOESM1_ESM.doc (19 mb)
Supplementary Information


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ratchanok Pingaew
    • 1
  • Nujarin Sinthupoom
    • 2
  • Prasit Mandi
    • 3
  • Veda Prachayasittikul
    • 4
  • Rungrot Cherdtrakulkiat
    • 2
  • Supaluk Prachayasittikul
    • 4
  • Somsak Ruchirawat
    • 5
    • 6
    • 7
  • Virapong Prachayasittikul
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Chemistry, Faculty of ScienceSrinakharinwirot UniversityBangkokThailand
  2. 2.Department of Clinical Microbiology and Applied Technology, Faculty of Medical TechnologyMahidol UniversityBangkokThailand
  3. 3.Department of Community Medical Technology, Faculty of Medical TechnologyMahidol UniversityBangkokThailand
  4. 4.Center of Data Mining and Biomedical Informatics, Faculty of Medical TechnologyMahidol UniversityBangkokThailand
  5. 5.Chulabhorn Research InstituteBangkokThailand
  6. 6.Program in Chemical BiologyChulabhorn Graduate InstituteBangkokThailand
  7. 7.Center of Excellence on Environmental Health and Toxicology (EHT), CHEMinistry of EducationBangkokThailand

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