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Nat Clin Pract Urol. 2006 Nov;3(11):590-601.

Mechanisms of disease: the role of heat-shock protein 90 in genitourinary malignancy.

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Urologic Oncology Branch, National Cancer Institute, Room 1-5942, Building 10 CRC, 9000 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


Insight into the molecular biology of cancer has allowed the development of novel therapeutic strategies that target specific oncogenic pathways. Molecular therapeutic strategies are now part of the armamentarium available against urologic malignancy. Among the many targets of interest in urologic cancer, heat-shock protein 90 (HSP90) shows great promise. This molecule has a major role in prostate as well as in renal malignancy. In contrast to other targets, where cancer might escape inhibition via alternative pathways, HSP90 operates at multiple checkpoints in a cancer cell. Its inhibition could, therefore, prove more difficult for neoplastic cells to overcome. Inhibitors of HSP90, such as geldanamycin and its derivatives (17-allylamino-17-demethoxygeldanamycin and 17-dimethylaminoethylamino-17-demethoxygeldanamycin, known as 17AAG and 17DMAG, respectively) are available and have shown activity both in vivo and in vitro. 17AAG is currently being tested for efficacy in humans after having completed phase I trials, while 17DMAG is still in phase I evaluation. Phase II trials of HSP90 inhibitors in urologic malignancy are being conducted in kidney and advanced prostate cancer. Beyond monotherapy, HSP90 inhibitors might also prove to be beneficial in combination therapy with other chemotherapeutic agents in advanced disease. Studies being conducted in prostate cancer will hopefully help to define this potential application better.

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