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Clin Cancer Res. 2014 Jun 15;20(12):3198-3210. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-13-3296. Epub 2014 Apr 16.

Niclosamide inhibits androgen receptor variants expression and overcomes enzalutamide resistance in castration-resistant prostate cancer.

Author information

Department of Urology, University of California Davis, CA, USA.
Graduate Program in Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of California Davis, CA, USA.
UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of California Davis, CA, USA.
Contributed equally



Enzalutamide, a second-generation antiandrogen, was recently approved for the treatment of castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) in patients who no longer respond to docetaxel. Despite these advances that provide temporary respite, resistance to enzalutamide occurs frequently. Androgen receptor (AR) splice variants such as AR-V7 have recently been shown to drive castration-resistant growth and resistance to enzalutamide. This study was designed to identify inhibitors of AR variants and test its ability to overcome resistance to enzalutamide.


The drug screening was conducted using luciferase activity assay to determine the activity of AR-V7 after treatment with the compounds in the Prestwick Chemical Library, which contains about 1,120 FDA-approved drugs. The effects of the identified inhibitors on AR-V7 activity and enzalutamide sensitivity were characterized in CRPC and enzalutamide-resistant prostate cancer cells in vitro and in vivo.


Niclosamide, an FDA-approved antihelminthic drug, was identified as a potent AR-V7 inhibitor in prostate cancer cells. Niclosamide significantly downregulated AR-V7 protein expression by protein degradation through a proteasome-dependent pathway. Niclosamide also inhibited AR-V7 transcription activity and reduced the recruitment of AR-V7 to the PSA promoter. Niclosamide inhibited prostate cancer cell growth in vitro and tumor growth in vivo. Furthermore, the combination of niclosamide and enzalutamide resulted in significant inhibition of enzalutamide-resistant tumor growth, suggesting that niclosamide enhances enzalutamide therapy and overcomes enzalutamide resistance in CRPC cells.


Niclosamide was identified as a novel inhibitor of AR variants. Our findings offer preclinical validation of niclosamide as a promising inhibitor of AR variants to treat, either alone or in combination with current antiandrogen therapies, patients with advanced prostate cancer, especially those resistant to enzalutamide.

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