EMICORON: A multi-targeting G4 ligand with a promising preclinical profile

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Background: During the last decade, guanine G-rich sequences folding into G-quadruplex (G4) structures have received a lot of attention and their biological role is now a matter of large debate. Rising amounts of experimental evidence have validated several G-rich motifs as molecular targets in cancer treatment. Despite that an increasing number of small molecules has been reported to possess excellent G4 stabilizing properties, none of them has progressed through the drug-development pipeline due to their poor drug-like properties. In this context, the identification of G4 ligands with more favorable pharmacological properties and with a well-defined target activity could be fruitful for anticancer therapy application. Scope of review: This manuscript outlines the current state of knowledge regarding EMICORON, a G4-interactive molecule structurally and biologically similar, on the one side, to coronene and, on the other side, to a bay-monosubstituted perylene. Major conclusions: Overall this work evidences that EMICORON, a new promising G4 ligand, possesses a marked antitumoral activity both standing alone and in combination with chemotherapeutics. Moreover, EMICORON represents a good example of multimodal class of antitumoral drug, able to simultaneously affect multiple targets participating in several distinct signaling pathways, thus simplifying the treatment modalities and improving the selectivity against cancer cells. General significance: Due to the importance of G4 forming sequences in crucial biological processes participating in tumor progression, their successful targeting with small molecules could represent a very important innovation in the development of effective therapeutic strategies against cancer. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled "G-quadruplex" Guest Editor: Dr. Concetta Giancola and Dr. Daniela Montesarchio.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - General Subjects
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Sep 30 2016


  • Colon cancer
  • Combination therapy
  • G4 ligand

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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