Background Liver cancer is predicted to be the sixth most diagnosed cancer globally and fourth leading cause of cancer deaths. In this study, a series of indole-3-isoxazole-5-carboxamide derivatives were designed, synthesized, and evaluated for their anticancer activities. The chemical structures of these of final compounds and intermediates were characterized by using IR, HRMS, H-1-NMR and C-13-NMR spectroscopy and element analysis. Results The cytotoxic activity was performed against Huh7, MCF7 and HCT116 cancer cell lines using sulforhodamine B assay. Some compounds showed potent anticancer activities and three of them were chosen for further evaluation on liver cancer cell lines based on SRB assay and real-time cell growth tracking analysis. Compounds were shown to cause arrest in the G0/G1 phase in Huh7 cells and caused a significant decrease in CDK4 levels. A good correlation was obtained between the theoretical predictions of bioavailability using Molinspiration calculation, Lipinski's rule of five, and experimental verification. These investigations reveal that indole-isoxazole hybrid system have the potential for the development of novel anticancer agents. Conclusions This study has provided data that will form the basis of further studies that aim to optimize both the design and synthesis of novel compounds that have higher anticancer activities.