Under hypoxia, cancer cells consume glucose and release lactate at a high rate. Lactate was recently documented to be recaptured by oxygenated cancer cells to fuel the TCA cycle and thereby to support tumor growth. Monocarboxylate transporters (MCT) are the main lactate carriers and therefore represent potential therapeutic targets to limit cancer progression. In this study, we have developed and implemented a stepwise in vitro screening procedure on human cancer cells to identify new potent MCT inhibitors. Various 7-substituted carboxycoumarins and quinolinone derivatives were synthesized and pharmacologically evaluated. Most active compounds were obtained using a palladium-catalyzed Buchwald-Hartwig type coupling reaction, which proved to be a quick and efficient method to obtain aminocarboxycoumarin derivatives. Inhibition of lactate flux revealed that the most active compound 19 (IC 50 11 nM) was three log orders more active than the CHC reference compound. Comparison with warfarin, a conventional anticoagulant coumarin, further showed that compound 19 did not influence the prothrombin time which, together with a good in vitro ADME profile, supports the potential of this new family of compounds to act as anticancer drugs through inhibition of lactate flux. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.