Novel 9-(substituted amino/piperazinoethyl)adenines (4-12), 6-(substituted piperazino/amino)purines (15-27), 9-(p-toluenesulfonyl/cyclopentyl/ethoxycarbonylmethyl)-6-(substituted amino/piperazino)purines (28-34,36,37,38-41) were synthesized and evaluated initially for their cytotoxic activities on liver Huh7, breast T47D and colon HCT116 carcinoma cells. N-6-(4-Trifluoromethylphenyl)piperazine derivative (17) and its 9-(p-toluene-sulfonyI)/9-cyclopentyl analogues (28, 36) had promising cytotoxic activities. Compounds 17, 28 and 36 were further analysed for their cytotoxicity in a panel of a liver cancer cell lines. The compound 36 had better cytotoxic activities (IC50 <= 1 mu M) than the nucleobase 5-FU and nucleosides fludarabine, cladribine, and pentostatine on Huh7 cells. Cytotoxicity induced by 36 was later identified as senescence associated cell death by SA-beta-Gal assay. (C) 2014 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.