A series of novel terpyridine-skeleton molecules containing conformational rigidity, 14 containing benzo[4,5]furo[3,2-b]pyridine core and 15 comprising chromeno[4,3-b]pyridine core, were synthesized, and their biological activities were evaluated. 3-(4-Phenylbenzo[4,5]furo[3,2-b]pyridin-2-yl)phenol (8) was determined to be a nonintercalative topo I and II dual catalytic inhibitor and 3-(4-phenylchromeno[4,3-b]pyridine-2-yl)phenol (22) was determined to be a nonintercalative topo IIα specific catalytic inhibitor by various assays. These two catalytic inhibitors induced apoptosis in addition to G1 arrest in T47D human breast cancer cells with much less DNA toxicity than etoposide. Compounds 8 and 22 significantly inhibited tumor growth in HCT15 subcutaneously implanted xenografted mice. The modification of compounds 8 and 22 with the introduction of a methoxy instead of a hydroxy group enhanced endogenous topo inhibitory activity, metabolic stability in diverse types of liver microsomes and improved pharmacokinetic parameters in rat plasma such as augmentation of bioavailability (41.3% and 33.2% for 2-(3-methoxyphenyl)-4-phenylbenzofuro[3,2-b]pyridine (8-M) and 3-(4-phenylchromeno[4,3-b]pyridine-2-yl)methoxybenzene (22-M), respectively).