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Mol Cancer Ther. 2008 Aug;7(8):2348-57. doi: 10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-08-0230.

Androgen receptor inactivation contributes to antitumor efficacy of 17{alpha}-hydroxylase/17,20-lyase inhibitor 3beta-hydroxy-17-(1H-benzimidazole-1-yl)androsta-5,16-diene in prostate cancer.

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Health Sciences Facility, University of Maryland, 685 West Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA.


We previously reported that our novel compound 3beta-hydroxy-17-(1H-benzimidazole-1-yl)androsta-5,16-diene (VN/124-1) is a potent 17alpha-hydroxylase/17,20-lyase (CYP17) inhibitor/antiandrogen and strongly inhibits the formation and proliferation of human prostate cancer LAPC4 tumor xenografts in severe combined immunodeficient mice. In this study, we report that VN/124-1 and other novel CYP17 inhibitors also cause down-regulation of androgen receptor (AR) protein expression in vitro and in vivo. This mechanism of action seems to contribute to their antitumor efficacy. We compared the in vivo antitumor efficacy of VN/124-1 with that of castration and a clinically used antiandrogen, Casodex, and show that VN/124-1 is more potent than castration in the LAPC4 xenograft model. Treatment with VN/124-1 (0.13 mmol/kg twice daily) was also very effective in preventing the formation of LAPC4 tumors (6.94 versus 2410.28 mm(3) in control group). VN/124-1 (0.13 mmol/kg twice daily) and VN/124-1 (0.13 mmol/kg twice daily) + castration induced regression of LAPC4 tumor xenografts by 26.55% and 60.67%, respectively. Treatments with Casodex (0.13 mmol/kg twice daily) or castration caused significant tumor suppression compared with control. Furthermore, treatment with VN/124-1 caused marked down-regulation of AR protein expression, in contrast to treatments with Casodex or castration that caused significant up-regulation of AR protein expression. The results suggest that VN/124-1 acts by several mechanisms (CYP17 inhibition, competitive inhibition, and down-regulation of the AR). These actions contribute to inhibition of the formation of LAPC4 tumors and cause regression of growth of established tumors. VN/124-1 is more efficacious than castration in the LAPC4 xenograft model, suggesting that the compound has potential for the treatment of prostate cancer.

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