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ABSTRACT: Solasodine glycosides, such as solamargine, have been proved to be very important anti-cancer agents. In order to discover more potent cytotoxic agents and explore the preliminary structure activity relationship, a new series of solasodine glycosides 2-9 were synthesized via a transglycosylation strategy, and their cytotoxic activity against a panel of human cancer cell lines (MCF-7, KB, K562, and PC3 cells) were evaluated by MTT assays. The results indicated that compounds 2, 8, and 9 with the substitute moiety of rhamnose, 2-hydroxyethoxymethyl, and 1,3-dihydroxypropan-2-yloxy-methyl, respectively, exhibited quite strong anticancer activity. The underlying mechanism tests demonstrated that these compounds could induce apoptosis detected by DAPI staining, and Annexin V and propidium iodide binding. Cell cycle analysis indicated that the cancer cells were predominantly arrested at the G2/M phase when exposure to these compounds was examined by flow cytometry. These compounds may serve as lead candidates in the development of novel chemotherapeutics for cancer treatment.Drug discoveries & therapeutics. 02/2012; 6(1):9-17.