Over the years, carbazoles have been largely studied for their numerous biological properties, including antibacterial, antimalarial, antioxidant, antidiabetic, neuroprotective, anticancer, and many more. Some of them have gained great interest for their anticancer activity in breast cancer due to their capability in inhibiting essential DNA-dependent enzymes, namely topoisomerases I and II. With this in mind, we studied the anticancer activity of a series of carbazole derivatives against two breast cancer cell lines, namely the triple negative MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7 cells. Compounds 3 and 4 were found to be the most active towards the MDA-MB-231 cell line without interfering with the normal counterpart. Using docking simulations, we assessed the ability of these carbazole derivatives to bind human topoisomerases I and II and actin. In vitro specific assays confirmed that the lead compounds selectively inhibited the human topoisomerase I and interfered with the normal organization of the actin system, triggering apoptosis as a final effect. Thus, compounds 3 and 4 are strong candidates for further drug development in multi-targeted therapy for the treatment of triple negative breast cancer, for which safe therapeutic regimens are not yet available.
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