Inhibition of cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs) with. small molecules has been suggested as a strategy for treatment of cancer, based on deregulation of CDKs commonly found in many types of human tumors. Here, a new potent CDK2 inhibitor with pyrazolo[4,3-d]pyrimidine scaffold has been synthesized, characterized, and evaluated in cellular and biochemical assays. 7-Benzylamino-5(R)-[2-(hydroxymethyl)-propyl]amino-3-isopropyl-1(2)H-pyrazolo[4,3-d]pyrimidine, compound 7, was prepared as a bioisostere of the well-known CDK inhibitor roscovitine. An X-ray crystal structure of compound 7 bound to CDK2 has been determined, revealing a binding mode similar to that of roscovitine. Protein kinase selectivity profile cif compound 7 and its biological arrest, dephosphorylation of the retinoblastoma protein, accumulation of the tumor suppressor protein p53, induction of apoptosis, inhibition of homologous recombination) are consistent with CDK inhibition as a primary mode of action. Importantly, as the anticancer activities of the pyrazolo[4,3-d]pyrimidine 7 exceed those of its bioisostere roscovitine, compound 7 reported here may be preferable for cancer therapy.