Multidrug resistance (MDR) against standard therapies poses a serious challenge in cancer treatment, and there is a clinical need for new anticancer agents that would selectively target MDR malignancies. Our previous studies have identified a 4H-chromene system, CXL017 (4) as an example, that can preferentially kill MDR cancer cells. To further improve its potency, we have performed detailed structure-activity relationship (SAR) studies at the 3, 4, and 6 positions of the 4H-chromene system. The results reveal that the 3 and 4 positions prefer rigid and hydrophobic functional groups while the 6 position prefers a meta or para-substituted aryl functional group and the substituent should be small and hydrophilic. We have also identified and characterized nine MDR cancer cells that acquire MDR through different mechanisms and demonstrated the scope of our new lead, 9g, to selectively target different MDR cancers, which holds promise to help manage MDR in cancer treatment.