The hitherto unknown 2-methylsulfanyldecanoic acid and 2-methylsulfanyldodecanoic acid were synthesized from methyl decanoate and methyl dodecanoate, respectively, through the reaction of lithium diisopropylamide and dimethyldisulfide in THF followed by saponification with potassium hydroxide in ethanol. Both alpha-methylsulfanylated FA were cytotoxic to the human chronic myelogenous leukemia K-562 and the human histiocytic lymphoma U-937 cell lines with EC50 values in the 200-300 microM range, which makes them more cytotoxic to these cell lines than decanoic and/or dodecanoic acid. The cytotoxicity of the studied FA toward K-562 followed the order 2-SCH3-12:0 > 2-SCH3-10:0 > 10:0 > 12:0 > 2-OCH3-12:0, whereas toward U-937 the cytotoxicity was 2-SCH3-10:0 > 2-SCH3-12:0 > 12:0 > 10:0 > 2-OCH3-12:0. These results indicate that the alpha-methylsulfanyl substitution increases the cytotoxicity of the C10 and C12 FA toward the studied leukemia cell lines.
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