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Urol Oncol. 2011 Nov-Dec;29(6):682-9. doi: 10.1016/j.urolonc.2009.09.015. Epub 2009 Dec 3.

Azacitidine favorably modulates PSA kinetics correlating with plasma DNA LINE-1 hypomethylation in men with chemonaïve castration-resistant prostate cancer.

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  • 1US Oncology Research, Inc., The Woodlands, TX 77380, USA.



Azacitidine is a hypomethylating agent that activates genes repressed by promoter methylation. Preclinically, demethylating agents reverse resistance of prostate cancer to androgen ablation. A phase II trial evaluated azacitidine for men with castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) progressing on combined androgen blockade (CAB).


Chemonaïve patients with CRPC on CAB and PSA-doubling time (DT) < 3 months were eligible. The primary endpoint was prolongation of PSA-DT to ≥ 3 months. Correlation of biologic activity (fetal hemoglobin, plasma DNA LINE-1 methylation) with prolongation of PSA-DT was tested. CAB was continued and azacitidine 75 mg/m(2) was administered subcutaneously on days 1-5 of each 28-day cycle up to 12 cycles or until clinical progression/intolerable toxicities.


Thirty-six patients were enrolled, 80.6% had metastatic disease, and 34 were evaluable. A PSA-DT ≥ 3 months was attained in 19 patients (55.8%). Overall median PSA-DT was significantly prolonged compared to baseline (2.8 vs. 1.5 months, P < 0.01). Fourteen patients had some PSA decline during therapy and 1 patient had a ≥ 30% decline compared with baseline. The median clinical progression-free survival was 12.4 weeks. Grade 3 toxicities included fatigue (12%), and neutropenia (6%), with 4 patients discontinuing due to toxicities. A trend in decreasing plasma DNA LINE-1 methylation was seen with longer treatment duration (P = 0.06), which significantly correlated with prolongation of PSA-DT (P = 0.02).


Azacitidine favorably modulates PSA kinetics in chemonaïve CRPC that correlates with decreasing plasma DNA LINE-1 methylation. Given the excellent tolerability, further development of azacitidine for CRPC may be warranted, with exploration of combination regimens.

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