Epingaione (4-Methyl-1-(5-methyl-2,3,4,5-tetrahydro-[2,3’]bifuranyl-5-yl)-pentan-2-one) was isolated as one of the major lipophilic secondary metabolites from the leaves and stems of Bontia daphnoides L. The compound gave 79.24% and 50.83% anti-proliferation/cytotoxic activity on the human SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma and TE-671 sarcoma cells in vitro at 50 μg/mL, respectively. Epingaione was transformed into eleven derivatives under laboratory conditions using ethanol, some gave greater anti-proliferation/cytotoxic activity on the cancer cell lines tested. One of the derivatives (compound 2) with enhanced cytotoxic activity was elucidated as 5’-Ethoxy-5-methyl-5-(4-methyl-2-oxo-pentyl)-2,3,4,5-tetrahydro-5’H-[2,3’]bifuranyl-2’-one. Both epingaione and compound 2 caused an accumulation of arrested or dead SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma in the m-phase of the cell cycle as revealed by the m-phase specific marker KE 67.
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