A profile of the in vitro anti-tumor activity of imidazolium-based ionic liquids

Sanjay V. Malhotra, Vineet Kumar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

110 Scopus citations


The anti-cancer activity and cytotoxicity of imidazolium-based ionic liquids has been determined for the first time via NCI's in vitro 60 human tumor cell lines. The preliminary SAR showed that the chain length of alkyl substitution at N-3 position of imidazole ring plays crucial role towards anti-tumor activity and cytotoxicity of these ionic liquids. The ionic liquids with alkyl substitution of C-12 chain length were found to be effective against all 60 tumor cell lines and show very low cytotoxicity in most of the cases. Further increase in chain length resulted in enhanced growth inhibition of tumor cell lines as well as high cytotoxicity. Interestingly, active compounds 1-dodecyl-3-methylimidazolium chloride (8), 1-dodecyl-3-methylimidazolium tetrafluoroborate (9), 1-hexadecyl-3-methylimidazoium chloride (10), 1-octadecyl-3-methylimidazolium chloride (11), 1-octadecyl-3-methylimidazolium hexafluorophosphate (12), 1-octadecyl-3-methylimidazolium bis(triflic)imide (13) and 1-octadecyl-3-methylimidazolium tris(pentafluoroethyl)trifluorophosphate (14) were highly active against leukemia cell lines, especially compounds 13 and 14 where the cytotoxicity was also very low as given by LC50 >100 μM in all six leukemia cell lines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)581-585
Number of pages5
JournalBioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 15 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Anti-cancer
  • Anti-tumor
  • Cytotoxicity
  • Ionic liquids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


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