Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Antifungal drug delays need for chemo in advanced prostate cancer, study suggests

Date:
June 2, 2011
Source:
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
Summary:
The oral antifungal drug itraconazole, most commonly used to treat nail fungus, may keep prostate cancer from worsening and delay the need for chemotherapy in men with advanced disease, new research suggests.

The oral antifungal drug itraconazole, most commonly used to treat nail fungus, may keep prostate cancer from worsening and delay the need for chemotherapy in men with advanced disease. Details of the finding, from a clinical trial led by Johns Hopkins experts, are scheduled for presentation on June 4 at the 2011 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting.

Related Articles


Currently, the drug is approved to treat fungal infections in nails and other organs. Serious side effects can include heart failure, and Johns Hopkins experts caution that itraconazole needs further study before it can be considered for prostate cancer treatment.

Identified as a potential anticancer drug after Hopkins scientists scoured a database of more than 3,000 FDA-approved drugs, itraconazole appears to block tumor blood vessel growth -- the only drug in its class to do so -- much like the anticancer drug bevacizumab (Avastin). The antifungal also disrupts a key cancer-initiating biological pathway called Hedgehog. Laboratory testing by Johns Hopkins scientist Jun Liu, Ph.D., has shown that human prostate tumors implanted in mice shrink when treated with itraconazole.

"The most effective therapy we have right now for metastatic prostate cancer is hormone therapy, and when it doesn't work, the next step is usually chemotherapy," says Emmanuel Antonarakis, M.D., assistant professor of oncology at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center. In a search for compounds that could put off chemotherapy, the Johns Hopkins team turned to itraconazole.

For the study, patients with prostate cancer that had spread to other organs and did not respond to hormone therapy were randomly assigned to receive low or high doses of itraconazole.

Over 24 weeks of daily treatment with oral itraconazole, the investigators tracked the length of time for each patient's prostate cancer to worsen (called progression-free survival). Evidence of worsening disease was measured by a 25 percent increase in their blood level of prostate specific antigen (PSA), a marker for prostate cancer.

Early in the trial, preliminary analysis of 17 men receiving low doses of itraconazole showed that only two of them (11.8 percent) had stable or declining PSA. Because of the limited response, no further men were given low doses of the drug.

However, 11 of 24 (48.4 percent) men taking high doses of itraconazole had stable or declining PSA levels lasting at least 24 weeks. In addition, nearly a third of men taking the high dose had PSA reductions of 30 percent or more. Metastatic prostate cancer patients receiving no treatment typically would worsen in eight to 12 weeks, according to Antonarakis.

The investigators also found that 12 of 14 men taking high doses of itraconazole had lower levels of circulating tumor cells present in their blood after therapy, compared with their baseline levels.

Seven patients experienced side effects, including low potassium, hypertension and fluid retention, but the problems were resolved with potassium replacement pills, anti-hypertension drugs, and diuretics.

"We also tested whether itraconazole acted as hormone therapy by tracking levels of testosterone and DHEA (a testosterone derivative) in the blood, and we found no reductions of either testosterone or DHEA," says Antonarakis. "This finding shows that itraconazole is not just another hormone therapy, and has a unique mechanism of action."

Antonarakis and colleagues next plan to examine blood and skin samples taken from study participants specifically to look for levels of proteins linked to tumor blood vessel formation and the Hedgehog pathway.

"With these results, we believe that high-dose itraconazole is worth studying in a larger group of men with advanced prostate cancer," adds Antonarakis.

The clinical trial was funded by the Department of Defense (DoD) Prostate Cancer Research Program, the Commonwealth Foundation for Cancer Research, the David H. Koch Charitable Foundation, a 2009 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Young Investigator Award granted to Antonarakis, and the National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute.

In addition to Antonarakis, other investigators participating in the research on behalf of the Prostate Cancer Clinical Trials Consortium included Amanda Blackford, Serina King, Anja Frost, Seun Ajiboye, Sushant Kachhap, Michelle Rudek, and Michael Carducci from Johns Hopkins; Elisabeth Heath from the Karmanos Cancer Institute; David Smith from University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; and Dana Rathkopf and Daniel Danila from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. "Antifungal drug delays need for chemo in advanced prostate cancer, study suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 June 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110602122353.htm>.
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. (2011, June 2). Antifungal drug delays need for chemo in advanced prostate cancer, study suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110602122353.htm
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. "Antifungal drug delays need for chemo in advanced prostate cancer, study suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110602122353.htm (accessed October 30, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Fauci Says Ebola Risk in US "essentially Zero"

Fauci Says Ebola Risk in US "essentially Zero"

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) NIAID Director Anthony Fauci said the risk of Ebola becoming an epidemic in the U.S. is essentially zero Thursday at the Washington Ideas Forum. He also said an Ebola vaccine will be tested in West Africa in the next few months. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nurse Defies Ebola Quarantine With Bike Ride

Nurse Defies Ebola Quarantine With Bike Ride

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) A nurse who vowed to defy Maine's voluntary quarantine for health care workers who treated Ebola patients followed through on her promise Thursday, leaving her home for an hour-long bike ride. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Microsoft Launches Fitness Band After Accidental Reveal

Microsoft Launches Fitness Band After Accidental Reveal

Newsy (Oct. 30, 2014) Microsoft accidentally revealed its upcoming fitness band on Wednesday, so the company went ahead and announced it. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bracing to Meet a Killer: Aid Workers Prep for Ebola in Geneva

Bracing to Meet a Killer: Aid Workers Prep for Ebola in Geneva

AFP (Oct. 30, 2014) At the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, around 30 doctors, nurses, lab technicians and water and sanitation workers are gathered for a crash-course in how to safely deal Ebola. Duration: 01:31 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins