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A series of carboranylporphyrins containing either amine or phosphonic acid functionalities and two to six closo-carborane clusters have been synthesized via a [2 + 2] condensation of a dimethylamino- or diethylphosphonate-substituted dipyrromethane with a dicarboranylmethyl-benzaldehyde. The X-ray structures of four key reaction intermediates (1, 2, 3, and 4a) and of two target porphyrins, the diphosphonate ester- and the diamino-tetracarboranylporphyrins 5b and 6a, are presented and discussed. In vitro studies using human carcinoma HEp2 and human glioblastoma T98G cells show that these porphyrins are non-toxic in the dark up to 100 μM concentrations, and that a tetracarboranylporphyrin bearing two quaternary ammonium groups is the most efficiently taken up by cells at short times (up to 8 h), followed by a dicarboranylporphyrin bearing three phosphonic acid substituents. All carboranylporphyrins delivered therapeutic amounts of boron to T98G cells and localized mainly within the cell lysosomes. © 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry

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