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A number of topoisomerase II-targeted anticancer drugs, including amsacrine, utilize an acridine or related aromatic core as a scaffold. Therefore, to further explore the potential of acridine-related compounds to act as topoisomerase II poisons, we synthesized a series of novel trifluoromethylated 9-amino-3,4-dihydroacridin-1(2H)-one derivatives and examined their ability to enhance DNA cleavage mediated by human topoisomerase IIα. Derivatives containing a H, Cl, F, and Br at C7 enhanced enzyme-mediated double-stranded DNA cleavage ∼5.5- to 8.5-fold over baseline, but were less potent than amsacrine. The inclusion of an amino group at C9 was critical for activity. The compounds lost their activity against topoisomerase IIα in the presence of a reducing agent, displayed no activity against the catalytic core of topoisomerase IIα, and inhibited DNA cleavage when incubated with the enzyme prior to the addition of DNA. These findings strongly suggest that the compounds act as covalent, rather than interfacial, topoisomerase II poisons.