An antimalarial compound can inhibit prostate cancer and metastasis in mice, reports a study published in Nature Communications.
Prostate cancer growth initially depends on the sex hormone androgen and its receptor. Clinical trials have shown that drugs that block the androgen receptor are a valid therapeutic strategy for prostate cancer patients. However, prostate cancers can become resistant due to expression of alternative forms of androgen receptor that cannot be inhibited by the current drugs.
In search of new androgen receptor-blocking agents, Zhengfang Yi and colleagues screen a library of natural compounds and identify the antimalarial agent Ailanthone as a potent inhibitor of all the different forms of androgen receptor. In cells and in mice, this drug inhibits tumour cell growth and metastasis formation. Mechanistically, the drug interacts with a protein involved in the stability of androgen receptor, leading to receptor degradation in tumour cells.
The authors suggest that this drug could be considered for treating prostate cancer that is resistant to current available therapies, and warrants further research and investigation.