Editors' ChoiceCancer

A Second Act for Antiandrogens

Sci. Signal.  12 May 2009:
Vol. 2, Issue 70, pp. ec164
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.270ec164

Men with advanced prostate cancer are often treated with antiandrogens—drugs that inhibit the activity of male hormones, such as testosterone, that help drive tumor growth. Many of these drugs act by functionally disrupting the androgen receptor (AR), a transcriptional regulatorof cell proliferation, but tumors eventually become resistant to the drugs by expressing higher levels of the AR. Tran et al. have developed a “second-generation” antiandrogen, a thiohydantoin called MDV3100, which binds the AR with high affinity. MDV3100 retains its anticancer activity in cell culture and in mouse models, even when AR levels are elevated. The drug appears to act both by inhibiting translocation of the AR into the nucleus and by reducing its transcriptional activity. MDV3100 is being tested in patients with advanced prostate cancer, the first group of which have shown a decline in blood levels of a marker of cancer growth, prostate-specific antigen.

C. Tran, S. Ouk, N. J. Clegg, Y. Chen, P. A. Watson, V. Arora, J. Wongvipat, P. M. Smith-Jones, D. Yoo, A. Kwon, T. Wasielewska, D. Welsbie, C. D. Chen, C. S. Higano, T. M. Beer, D. T. Hung, H. I. Scher, M. E. Jung, C. L. Sawyers, Development of a second-generation antiandrogen for treatment of advanced prostate cancer. Science 324, 787–790 (2009). [Abstract] [Full Text]