Protein tyrosine kinases occupy a central position in the control of cellular proliferation and its inactivation might lead to the discovery of a new generation anticancer compounds. Substituted benzothiazoles have been found to mimic the ATP-competitive binding of genistein and quercetin to tyrosine kinase. A series of novel 2-phenyl-1,3-benzothiazoles were synthesized and characterised by IR, 1H NMR and mass spectroscopy. All the compounds were tested for their anticancer activity against MCF-7 breast cancer cell line with the MTT assay. Most of the compounds showed moderate to good anti-breast cancer activity. Anticancer activity varied with substitution on the benzothiazole nucleus with halogens and at 4 position, substitution of the 2-phenyl moiety with methyl and methoxy groups was also explored. Among the compounds tested with MTT assay, mono fluoro substitution on benzothiazole nucleus and 4'-methyl variations at 2-phenyl position demonstrated highest percent growth inhibition of MCF-7 cells. Docking studies of the synthesised compounds was done on EGFR using GRIP batch docking method to study their observed activity. © 2010 Elsevier Inc.