Pyrazolo[3,4-d]pyrimidines are potent protein kinase inhibitors with promising antitumor activity but suboptimal aqueous solubility, consequently worth being further optimized. Herein, we present the one-pot two-step procedure for the synthesis of a set of pyrazolo[3,4-d]pyrimidine prodrugs (1a-8a and 9a-e) with higher aqueous solubility and enhanced pharmacokinetic and therapeutic properties. ADME studies demonstrated for the most promising prodrugs a better aqueous solubility, a favorable hydrolysis in human and murine serum, and an increased ability to cross cell membranes with respect to the parental drugs, explaining their better 24 h in vitro cytotoxicity against human glioblastoma U87 cell line. Finally, the 4-4a couple of drug/prodrug was also evaluated in vivo, revealing a profitable pharmacokinetic profile of the prodrug associated with a good efficacy. The application of the prodrug approach demonstrated to be a successful strategy for improving aqueous solubility of the parental drugs, determining a positive impact also in their biological efficacy.
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