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Enzalutamide and blocking androgen receptor in advanced prostate cancer: lessons learnt from the history of drug development of antiandrogens

Authors Ito Y, Sadar MD

Received 15 November 2017

Accepted for publication 13 January 2018

Published 16 February 2018 Volume 2018:10 Pages 23—32


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Jan Colli

Yusuke Ito, Marianne D Sadar

Genome Sciences Centre, BC Cancer, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Abstract: Enzalutamide is a nonsteroidal antiandrogen for the treatment of metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) both before and after chemotherapy. Enzalutamide is more effective than its predecessor bicalutamide, which was analyzed in head-to-head studies of patients with CRPC. This family of nonsteroidal antiandrogens is now comprised of four drugs approved by the US Food and Drug Administration with two investigational drugs in clinical trials. Antiandrogens have been employed clinically for more than five decades to provide a rich resource of information. Steady-state concentration minimums (Cmin or trough) in the range of ~1–13 μg/mL are measured in patients at therapeutic doses. Interestingly, enzalutamide which is considered to have strong affinity for the androgen receptor (AR) requires Cmin levels >10 μg/mL. The sequence of antiandrogens and the clinical order of application in regard to other drugs that target the androgen axis remain of high interest. One novel first-in-class drug, called ralaniten, which binds to a unique region in the N-terminus domain of both the full-length and the truncated constitutively active splice variants of the AR, is currently in clinical trials for patients who previously received abiraterone, enzalutamide, or both. This highlights the trend to develop drugs with novel mechanisms of action and potentially differing mechanisms of resistance compared with antiandrogens. Better and more complete inhibition of the transcriptional activity of the AR appears to continue to provide improvements in the clinical management of mCRPC.

Keywords: prostate cancer, enzalutamide, antiandrogens, Cmin, trough, pharmacology, cross-resistance, clinical trials, PSA response, ralaniten, EPI-002

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