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1.  Randomized Phase 3 Trial of Abiraterone Acetate in Men with Metastatic Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer and No Prior Chemotherapy 
The New England journal of medicine  2012;368(2):138-148.
Abiraterone acetate, an androgen biosynthesis inhibitor, improves overall survival (OS) in metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) post-chemotherapy. Many mCRPC patients never receive chemotherapy and thus cannot benefit from abiraterone acetate; we evaluated this agent in mCRPC patients who had not received chemotherapy.
In this double-blind study, 1088 patients were randomized 1:1 to abiraterone acetate (1000 mg) plus prednisone (5 mg twice daily) or placebo plus prednisone. Co-primary end points were radiographic progression-free survival (rPFS) and OS. Secondary end points measured clinically relevant landmarks of mCRPC progression. Patient-reported outcomes included pain progression and quality of life.
The study was unblinded after a planned interim analysis (IA) at 43% of OS events. Treatment with abiraterone acetate-prednisone resulted in a 57% reduction in the risk of radiographic progression or death (hazard ratio [HR], 0.43; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.35 to 0.52; P<0.001; 13% OS events IA) and an estimated 25% decrease in the risk of death (HR, 0.75; 95% CI: 0.61 to 0.93; P=0.009; 43% OS events IA). Secondary end points supported superiority of abiraterone acetate-prednisone: time to cytotoxic chemotherapy initiation, opiate use for cancer-related pain, prostate-specific antigen progression (all P<0.001) and performance status deterioration (P=0.005). Self-reported time to pain progression and patient functional status degradation favored abiraterone acetate-prednisone (P=0.05 and P=0.003). Grade 3/4 mineralocorticoid-related adverse events and liver function test abnormalities were more common with abiraterone acetate-prednisone.
Abiraterone acetate produces OS and rPFS benefits, as well as significant delays in clinical deterioration and initiation of chemotherapy, in mCRPC.
PMCID: PMC3683570  PMID: 23228172
Abiraterone acetate; prednisone; metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer; androgen; CYP17
2.  Phase I Clinical Trial of the CYP17 Inhibitor Abiraterone Acetate Demonstrating Clinical Activity in Patients With Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer Who Received Prior Ketoconazole Therapy 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2010;28(9):1481-1488.
Abiraterone acetate is a prodrug of abiraterone, a selective inhibitor of CYP17, the enzyme catalyst for two essential steps in androgen biosynthesis. In castration-resistant prostate cancers (CRPCs), extragonadal androgen sources may sustain tumor growth despite a castrate environment. This phase I dose-escalation study of abiraterone acetate evaluated safety, pharmacokinetics, and effects on steroidogenesis and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels in men with CPRC with or without prior ketoconazole therapy.
Patients and Methods
Thirty-three men with chemotherapy-naïve progressive CRPC were enrolled. Nineteen patients (58%) had previously received ketoconazole for CRPC. Bone metastases were present in 70% of patients, and visceral involvement was present in 18%. Three patients (9%) had locally advanced disease without distant metastases. Fasted or fed cohorts received abiraterone acetate doses of 250, 500, 750, or 1,000 mg daily. Single-dose pharmacokinetic analyses were performed before continuous daily dosing.
Adverse events were predominantly grade 1 or 2. No dose-limiting toxicities were observed. Hypertension (grade 3, 12%) and hypokalemia (grade 3, 6%; grade 4, 3%) were the most frequent serious toxicities and responded to medical management. Confirmed ≥ 50% PSA declines at week 12 were seen in 18 (55%) of 33 patients, including nine (47%) of 19 patients with prior ketoconazole therapy and nine (64%) of 14 patients without prior ketoconazole therapy. Substantial declines in circulating androgens and increases in mineralocorticoids were seen with all doses.
Abiraterone acetate was well tolerated and demonstrated activity in CRPC, including in patients previously treated with ketoconazole. Continued clinical study is warranted.
PMCID: PMC2849769  PMID: 20159824
3.  Exploratory analysis of the visceral disease subgroup in a phase III study of abiraterone acetate in metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer 
Visceral disease, non-nodal soft-tissue metastases predominantly involving the lung and liver, is a negative prognostic factor in patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC). An exploratory analysis of COU-AA-301 assessed whether abiraterone acetate (AA) improved overall survival (OS) in mCRPC patients with visceral disease progressing post docetaxel.
In COU-AA-301, post-docetaxel mCRPC patients were randomized 2:1 to AA 1000 mg (n=797) or placebo (n=398) once daily, each with prednisone 5 mg b.i.d. The primary end point was OS; secondary end points included radiographic progression-free survival (rPFS), PSA response rate and objective response rate (ORR). Treatment effects in visceral disease (n=352) and non-visceral disease (n=843) subsets were examined using final data (775 OS events).
AA plus prednisone produced similar absolute improvement in median OS in patients with (4.6 months) and without (4.8 months) visceral disease versus prednisone; hazard ratios (HRs) were 0.79 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.60–1.05; P=0.102) and 0.69 (95% CI: 0.58–0.83; P<0.0001), respectively. Treatment with AA plus prednisone significantly and comparably improved secondary endpoint outcomes versus prednisone in both the subsets: the HRs for rPFS were 0.60 (95% CI: 0.46–0.78; P=0.0002) and 0.68 (95% CI: 0.58–0.80; P<0.0001) in visceral and non-visceral disease subsets, respectively. PSA response rates were 28% versus 7% in the visceral disease subsets and 30% versus 5% in the non-visceral disease subsets (both P<0.0001), and ORRs were 11% versus 0% (P=0.0058) and 19% versus 5% (P=0.0010), respectively. The incidence of grade 3/4 adverse events was similar between the subsets and between the treatment arms in each subset. Adverse events related to CYP17 blockade were increased in the AA arms and were similar in patients with or without visceral disease.
AA plus prednisone provides significant clinical benefit, including improvements in OS and secondary end points, in post-docetaxel mCRPC patients with or without baseline visceral disease. The presence of visceral disease does not preclude clinical benefit from abiraterone.
PMCID: PMC3921671  PMID: 24080993
abiraterone acetate; liver metastases; metastatic prostate cancer; survival; visceral disease
4.  Phase II Multicenter Study of Abiraterone Acetate Plus Prednisone Therapy in Patients With Docetaxel-Treated Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2010;28(9):1496-1501.
Persistence of ligand-mediated androgen receptor signaling has been documented in castration-resistant prostate cancers (CRPCs). Abiraterone acetate (AA) is a potent and selective inhibitor of CYP17, which is required for androgen biosynthesis in the testes, adrenal glands, and prostate tissue. This trial evaluated the efficacy and safety of AA in combination with prednisone to reduce the symptoms of secondary hyperaldosteronism that can occur with AA monotherapy.
Patients and Methods
Fifty-eight men with progressive metastatic CRPC who experienced treatment failure with docetaxel-based chemotherapy received AA (1,000 mg daily) with prednisone (5 mg twice daily). Twenty-seven (47%) patients had received prior ketoconazole. The primary outcome was ≥ 50% prostate-specific antigen (PSA) decline, with objective response by Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST) criteria, and changes in Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance status (PS) and circulating tumor cell (CTC) numbers. Safety was also evaluated.
A ≥ 50% decline in PSA was confirmed in 22 (36%) patients, including 14 (45%) of 31 ketoconazole-naïve and seven (26%) of 27 ketoconazole-pretreated patients. Partial responses were seen in four (18%) of 22 patients with RECIST-evaluable target lesions. Improved ECOG PS was seen in 28% of patients. Median time to PSA progression was 169 days (95% CI, 82 to 200 days). CTC conversions with treatment from ≥ 5 to < 5 were noted in 10 (34%) of 29 patients. The majority of AA-related adverse events were grade 1 to 2, and no AA-related grade 4 events were seen.
AA plus prednisone was well tolerated, with encouraging antitumor activity in heavily pretreated CRPC patients. The incidence of mineralocorticoid-related toxicities (hypertension or hypokalemia) was reduced by adding low-dose prednisone. The combination of AA plus prednisone is recommended for phase III investigations.
PMCID: PMC3040042  PMID: 20159814
5.  Abiraterone in Prostate Cancer: a new angle to an old problem 
Abiraterone acetate is an orally administered potent inhibitor of cytochrome P450, family 17, subfamily A, polypeptide 1 (CYP17A1 or CYPc17), which is essential for synthesis of testosterone from cholesterol. While decreasing serum testosterone through inhibition of testicular function is the first line of treatment for men with metastatic prostate cancer, residual androgens may still be detected in patients treated with LHRH agonists. Treatment with abiraterone results in rapid, and complete, inhibition of androgen synthesis in the adrenal glands and within the tumor itself. An overall survival benefit of maximal androgen suppression was recently demonstrated in a randomized placebo controlled phase III clinical trial of abiraterone with prednisone versus prednisone in men with metastatic castrate resistant prostate cancer previously treated with docetaxel chemotherapy. Abiraterone’s efficacy demonstrates the importance of androgen signaling in patients with castrate resistant metastastic disease, and the importance of studies of other novel agents such as MDV3100, an androgen receptor inhibitor, that additionally targets androgen receptor translocation. These promising results now pose a new angle to an old problem regarding hormonal therapy and raise new questions about how resistance develops, how to best sequence therapy, and how to optimize combinations with other emerging novel targeted agents.
PMCID: PMC3761800  PMID: 22451619
Abiraterone; Prostate Cancer; CYP17A1; CYP17; CYPc17
6.  Significant and Sustained Antitumor Activity in Post-Docetaxel, Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer With the CYP17 Inhibitor Abiraterone Acetate 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2010;28(9):1489-1495.
The principal objective of this trial was to evaluate the antitumor activity of abiraterone acetate, an oral, specific, irreversible inhibitor of CYP17 in docetaxel-treated patients with castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC).
Patients and Methods
In this multicenter, two-stage, phase II study, abiraterone acetate 1,000 mg was administered once daily continuously. The primary end point was achievement of a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) decline of ≥ 50% in at least seven of 35 patients. Per an attained phase II design, more than 35 patients could be enrolled if the primary end point was met. Secondary objectives included: PSA declines of ≥ 30% and ≥ 90%; rate of RECIST (Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors) responses and duration on study; time to PSA progression; safety and tolerability; and circulating tumor cell (CTC) enumeration.
Docetaxel-treated patients with CRPC (N = 47) were enrolled. PSA declines of ≥ 30%, ≥ 50% and ≥ 90% were seen in 68% (32 of 47), 51% (24 of 47), and 15% (seven of 47) of patients, respectively. Partial responses (by RECIST) were reported in eight (27%) of 30 patients with measurable disease. Median time to PSA progression was 169 days (95% CI, 113 to 281 days). The median number of weeks on study was 24, and 12 (25.5%) of 47 patients remained on study ≥ 48 weeks. CTCs were enumerated in 34 patients; 27 (79%) of 34 patients had at least five CTCs at baseline. Eleven (41%) of 27 patients had a decline from at least five to less than 5 CTCs, and 18 (67%) of 27 had a ≥ 30% decline in CTCs after starting treatment with abiraterone acetate. Abiraterone acetate was well tolerated.
Abiraterone acetate has significant antitumor activity in post-docetaxel patients with CRPC. Randomized, phase III trials of abiraterone acetate are underway to define the future role of this agent.
PMCID: PMC2849770  PMID: 20159823
7.  Novel Therapeutic Strategies for Metastatic Prostate Cancer in the Post-Docetaxel Setting 
The Oncologist  2011;16(11):1487-1497.
The clinical development of cabazitaxel and abiraterone acetate in the treatment of castration-resistant prostate cancer is examined.
Prostate cancer is the most common noncutaneous cancer and the second leading cause of death from cancer in men in most western countries. Advanced prostate cancer is typically sensitive to androgen-deprivation therapy, but invariably progresses to the castration-resistant state. Most current prostate cancer treatments are based on cytotoxicity directed against tumor cells via androgen-deprivation therapy or chemotherapy. Chemotherapy with docetaxel represents the standard first-line treatment in patients with castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). Following progression after treatment with docetaxel, cabazitaxel (XRP6258)–prednisone treatment leads to a significantly longer overall survival (OS) time than with mitoxantrone–prednisone. Several other novel agents are currently being evaluated, including sipuleucel-T, abiraterone acetate, and MDV3100, as well as the radionuclide alpharadin. The cell-based immunotherapy sipuleucel-T produces longer OS times in chemotherapy-naïve patients, whereas the androgen biosynthesis inhibitor abiraterone acetate results in longer OS times following docetaxel. It is envisioned that these agents will change the standard of care for patients with metastatic CRPC. This review focuses on the clinical development of cabazitaxel and abiraterone acetate.
PMCID: PMC3233282  PMID: 22048000
Castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC); Abiraterone; Androgen receptor; Taxane; Cabazitaxel
8.  Effects of Abiraterone Acetate on Androgen Signaling in Castrate-Resistant Prostate Cancer in Bone 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2011;30(6):637-643.
Persistent androgen signaling is implicated in castrate-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) progression. This study aimed to evaluate androgen signaling in bone marrow–infiltrating cancer and testosterone in blood and bone marrow and to correlate with clinical observations.
Patients and Methods
This was an open-label, observational study of 57 patients with bone-metastatic CRPC who underwent transiliac bone marrow biopsy between October 2007 and March 2010. Patients received oral abiraterone acetate (1 g) once daily and prednisone (5 mg) twice daily. Androgen receptor (AR) and CYP17 expression were assessed by immunohistochemistry, testosterone concentration by mass spectrometry, AR copy number by polymerase chain reaction, and TMPRSS2-ERG status by fluorescent in situ hybridization in available tissues.
Median overall survival was 555 days (95% CI, 440 to 965+ days). Maximal prostate-specific antigen decline ≥ 50% occurred in 28 (50%) of 56 patients. Homogeneous, intense nuclear expression of AR, combined with ≥ 10% CYP17 tumor expression, was correlated with longer time to treatment discontinuation (> 4 months) in 25 patients with tumor-infiltrated bone marrow samples. Pretreatment CYP17 tumor expression ≥ 10% was correlated with increased bone marrow aspirate testosterone. Blood and bone marrow aspirate testosterone concentrations declined to less than picograms-per-milliliter levels and remained suppressed at progression.
The observed pretreatment androgen-signaling signature is consistent with persistent androgen signaling in CRPC bone metastases. This is the first evidence that abiraterone acetate achieves sustained suppression of testosterone in both blood and bone marrow aspirate to less than picograms-per-milliliter levels. Potential admixture of blood with bone marrow aspirate limits our ability to determine the origin of measured testosterone.
PMCID: PMC3295561  PMID: 22184395
9.  Abiraterone Acetate: Targeting Persistent Androgen Dependence in Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer 
Advances in Therapy  2013;30:727-747.
Abiraterone acetate is the first second-line hormonal agent proven to improve survival in metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer. It selectively inhibits cytochrome P450 17 (CYP17) α-hydroxylase and cytochrome17,20 (C17,20)-lyase, which are enzymes critical for androgen synthesis. Abiraterone acetate was initially approved in the United States in 2011 after demonstrating a 4-month survival benefit in docetaxel-refractory metastatic prostate cancer. The FDA recently expanded its indication for use in the pre-chemotherapy setting after it elicited significant delays in disease progression and a strong trend for increased overall survival in phase III studies. Ongoing investigations of abiraterone are evaluating its efficacy in earlier disease states, exploring its synergy in combination with other therapeutic agents, and assessing the necessity for administration of concurrent steroids and gonadal suppression. The identification and development of predictive biomarkers will optimize the incorporation of abiraterone into the management of advanced prostate cancer.
PMCID: PMC3778906  PMID: 23979793
Abiraterone; Androgen dependence; Castration-resistant prostate cancer; CYP17 inhibitor; Oncology; Prostate cancer; Survival
10.  Partial response of liver metastases treated with abiraterone in castration-resistant prostate cancer: A case report 
Oncology Letters  2013;5(6):1877-1880.
Docetaxel is the current first-line treatment for castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC), following failure to respond to maximal androgen blockade (MAB). Patients who fail to respond to docetaxel may receive cabazitaxel or abiraterone; however, there are no recommendations on which of these two agents should be used first. Here, we present a case of a male patient suffering from CRPC with liver and lymph node metastases, in which abiraterone achieved a partial response, according to RECIST criteria. In the literature, visceral involvement in patients with advanced prostate cancer is an infrequent occurrence; it affects 18–22% of patients. In the pivotal study concerning docetaxel-resistant patients, abiraterone was compared with a placebo and the forest plot for survival demonstrated that patients with visceral involvement have significantly benefited from abiraterone. In the TROPIC trial comparing cabazitaxel with mitoxantrone, the proportion of patients with visceral disease was ∼25% in both arms and there was no difference in overall survival in this subgroup of patients. In our case, we observed a significant activity of abiraterone in lymph node and liver metastases. If confirmed in large studies, this observation may raise concerns over whether to treat patients suffering from CRPC and visceral metasis with chemotherapy or hormone therapy.
PMCID: PMC3701088  PMID: 23833660
abiraterone; castration-resistant prostate cancer; visceral metastases; hormonal treatment
11.  Effect of abiraterone acetate plus prednisone on the QT interval in patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer 
Abiraterone is the active metabolite of the pro-drug abiraterone acetate (AA) and a selective inhibitor of CYP17, a key enzyme in testosterone synthesis, and improves overall survival in postdocetaxel metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC). This open-label, single-arm phase 1b study was conducted to assess the effect of AA and abiraterone on the QT interval.
The study was conducted in 33 patients with mCRPC. Patients received AA 1,000 mg orally once daily + prednisone 5 mg orally twice daily. Electrocardiograms (ECGs) were collected in triplicate using 12-lead Holter monitoring. Baseline ECGs were obtained on Cycle 1 Day-1. Serial ECG recordings and time-matched pharmacokinetic (PK) blood samples were collected over 24 h on Cycle 1 Day 1 and Cycle 2 Day 1. Serial PK blood samples were also collected over 24 h on Cycle 1 Day 8.
After AA administration, the upper bound of the 2-sided 90 % confidence interval (CI) for the mean baseline-adjusted QTcF change was <10 ms; no patients discontinued due to QTc prolongation or adverse events. No apparent relationship between change in QTcF and abiraterone plasma concentrations was observed [estimated slope (90 % CI): 0.0031 (−0.0040, 0.0102)].
There is no significant effect of AA plus prednisone on the QT/QTc interval in patients with mCRPC.
PMCID: PMC3405235  PMID: 22752297
Abiraterone acetate; Pharmacokinetics; QT interval; Castration-resistant prostate cancer; Phase 1
12.  Clinical appraisal of abiraterone in the treatment of metastatic prostatic cancer: patient considerations, novel opportunities, and future directions 
OncoTargets and therapy  2013;6:9-18.
While androgen-deprivation therapy can induce dramatic clinical responses in advanced and metastatic prostate cancer, refractory disease (castration-resistant prostate cancer [CRPC]) eventually emerges. In recent years, several studies have demonstrated the importance of residual intratumoral androgens in maintaining androgen receptor (AR) transcriptional activity in CRPC. The cytochrome P450 enzyme CYP17 is an obligatory step in androgen synthesis, and therefore a critical therapeutic target in CRPC. Abiraterone acetate is a selective, irreversible inhibitor of CYP17 and can suppress adrenal synthesis of androgen precursors, and possibly in situ steroidogenesis in the tumor microenvironment. In a phase III multicenter study, abiraterone in combination with prednisone improved median overall survival of men with docetaxel-refractory CRPC by 3.9 months compared to placebo plus prednisone, and also resulted in higher objective prostate-specific antigen and radiographic response rates. The study led to the FDA approval in April 2011 of abiraterone for treatment of chemotherapy-refractory CRPC patients, validating steroidogenesis and the AR axis in general as therapeutic targets in CRPC. The FDA indication for abiraterone was expanded to all CRPCs in December 2012, while evaluation in even earlier disease states is ongoing. We propose a comprehensive AR axis-targeting approach via simultaneous, frontline enzymatic blockade of several steroidogenic enzymes (eg, CYP17 and AKR1C3) in combination with gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogs and potent, second-generation AR antagonists (eg, enzalutamide) in order to improve outcomes in patients with prostate cancer.
PMCID: PMC3540953  PMID: 23319868
androgen synthesis; testosterone; dihydrotestosterone; CYP17; AKR1C3; MDV3100 (enzalutamide)
13.  Selective Inhibition of CYP17 With Abiraterone Acetate Is Highly Active in the Treatment of Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer 
It has been postulated that castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) commonly remains hormone dependent. Abiraterone acetate is a potent, selective, and orally available inhibitor of CYP17, the key enzyme in androgen and estrogen biosynthesis.
Patients and Methods
This was a phase I/II study of abiraterone acetate in castrate, chemotherapy-naive CRPC patients (n = 54) with phase II expansion at 1,000 mg (n = 42) using a two-stage design to reject the null hypothesis if more than seven patients had a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) decline of ≥ 50% (null hypothesis = 0.1; alternative hypothesis = 0.3; α = .05; β = .14). Computed tomography scans every 12 weeks and circulating tumor cell (CTC) enumeration were performed. Prospective reversal of resistance at progression by adding dexamethasone 0.5 mg/d to suppress adrenocorticotropic hormone and upstream steroids was pursued.
A decline in PSA of ≥ 50% was observed in 28 (67%) of 42 phase II patients, and declines of ≥ 90% were observed in eight (19%) of 42 patients. Independent radiologic evaluation reported partial responses (Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors) in nine (37.5%) of 24 phase II patients with measurable disease. Decreases in CTC counts were also documented. The median time to PSA progression (TTPP) on abiraterone acetate alone for all phase II patients was 225 days (95% CI, 162 to 287 days). Exploratory analyses were performed on all 54 phase I/II patients; the addition of dexamethasone at disease progression reversed resistance in 33% of patients regardless of prior treatment with dexamethasone, and pretreatment serum androgen and estradiol levels were associated with a probability of ≥ 50% PSA decline and TTPP on abiraterone acetate and dexamethasone.
CYP17 blockade by abiraterone acetate results in declines in PSA and CTC counts and radiologic responses, confirming that CRPC commonly remains hormone driven.
PMCID: PMC3535569  PMID: 19470933
14.  Resistance to CYP17A1 inhibition with abiraterone in castration resistant prostate cancer: Induction of steroidogenesis and androgen receptor splice variants 
Abiraterone is a potent inhibitor of the steroidogenic enzyme CYP17A1 and suppresses tumor growth in patients with castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). The effectiveness of abiraterone in reducing tumor androgens is not known, nor have mechanisms contributing to abiraterone resistance been established.
Experimental Design
We treated human CRPC xenografts with abiraterone and measured tumor growth, tissue androgens, androgen receptor (AR) levels, and steroidogenic gene expression vs. controls.
Abiraterone suppressed serum PSA levels and improved survival in two distinct CRPC xenografts: median survival of LuCaP35CR improved from 17 to 39 days (HR 3.6, p=0.0014) and LuCaP23CR from 14 to 24 days (HR 2.5, p=0.0048). Abiraterone strongly suppressed tumor androgens, with testosterone (T) decreasing from 0.49 ± 0.22 to 0.03 ± 0.01 pg/mg (p<0.0001), and from 0.69 ± 0.36 to 0.03 ± 0.01 pg/mg (p=0.002) in abiraterone-treated 23CR and 35CR, respectively, with comparable decreases in tissue DHT. Treatment was associated with increased expression of full length AR (ARFL) and truncated AR variants (ARFL 2.3 fold, p=0.008 and ARdel567es 2.7 fold, p=0.036 in 23CR; ARFL 3.4 fold, p=0.001 and ARV7 3.1 fold, p=0.0003 in 35CR), and increased expression of the abiraterone target CYP17A1 (~2.1 fold, p=0.0001 and p=0.028 in 23CR and 35CR, respectively) and transcript changes in other enzymes modulating steroid metabolism.
These studies indicate that abiraterone reduces CRPC growth via suppression of intratumoral androgens and that resistance to abiraterone may occur through mechanisms that include upregulation of CYP17A1, and/or induction of AR and AR splice variants that confer ligand-independent AR transactivation.
PMCID: PMC3184252  PMID: 21807635
castration resistant prostate cancer; CYP17A1; abiraterone; steroidogenesis; androgen receptor splice variant
15.  CCR new strategies: Targeting the androgen receptor signaling pathway in metastatic prostate cancer 
Recent data reports abiraterone acetate, a specific inhibitor of CYP17 that is key to androgen and estrogen synthesis, improves survival in metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC), confirming the continued dependency of CRPC on the androgen receptor (AR) signaling pathway. MDV3100 is a novel antagonist of AR that is also in Phase III clinical trials. In addition, several other agents targeting the AR axis are undergoing evaluation in early clinical studies. CRPC patients progress on these therapies with a rising PSA, suggesting that repeated therapeutic interventions targeting the AR signaling axis could induce secondary responses and achieve prolonged clinical benefit for a sub-group of patients. These exciting results are good news for patients but introduce a number of treatment paradigm dilemmas for physicians. Clinical studies evaluating the ideal sequence of administration of these new agents, best timing for initiation, combination strategies, discontinuation beyond progression and after commencement of subsequent therapies and coordination with other treatments have not been performed. Predictive biomarkers could allow patient selection for a specific treatment but in their absence most physicians will rely on a trial of treatment with a preferred agent and substitute for an alternative therapy on objective progression. Current data suggests that the response rate to drugs targeting the AR ligand-binding domain decreases with each treatment but we hypothesize that a significant proportion of CRPC remains dependent on the AR axis and therefore novel strategies for disrupting AR signaling merit evaluation.
PMCID: PMC3513706  PMID: 21372223
16.  Contemporary Experience With Ketoconazole in Patients With Metastatic Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer: Clinical Factors Associated With PSA Response and Disease Progression 
The Prostate  2011;72(4):461-467.
Adrenal/intratumoral androgen biosynthesis contributes to ligand-dependent androgen receptor activation in metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRCP). Compounds targeting CYP-17 hydroxylase and lyase, as ketoconazole and abiraterone, block adrenal/intratumoral androgen biosynthesis, and are used as sequential endocrine approaches in mCRCP. We aimed to describe contemporary experience and association of clinical factors with Prostate specific antigen (PSA) response and disease progression, in mCRPC progressing on GnRH-agonist, antiandrogen, antiandrogen withdrawal, and treated with ketoconazole.
Data were retrospectively analyzed in all mCRPC patients treated with ketoconazole. Patients continued GnRH-agonist, and treated with ketoconazole 200–400 mg 3× a day until dose-limiting toxicity or disease progression. A multivariate cox regression model was used to identify clinical factors associated with PSA response and disease progression.
From 1999 to 2010, 114 mCRPC patients were treated with ketoconazole. With a median follow-up time of 31 months (range 5–129), 25 patients (22%) had grade 3/4 toxicity, most commonly fatigue, abdominal discomfort, nausea, and dizziness. Sixty-one patients (54%) had ≥50% PSA decline. Median time to progression was 8 months (range 1–129). Factors associated with PSA response and disease progression were response to prior antiandrogen (≥6 vs. <6 months), pre-treatment PSADT (≥3 vs. <3 months) and extent of disease (limited-axial skeleton and/or nodal vs. extensive-appendicular skeleton and/or visceral).
Ketoconazole is effective and safe in mCRPC. Prior response to antiandrogen, pre-treatment PSADT, and disease extent are associated with PSA response and disease progression, and further supports a therapeutic role in suppressing adrenal androgens in mCRPC.
PMCID: PMC3463372  PMID: 21688281
disease progression; ketoconazole; metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer; PSA response
17.  Emerging novel therapies for advanced prostate cancer 
This review examines the development and efficacy of novel treatment options for advanced prostate cancer and discusses novel therapies that are on the horizon. Since the introduction of docetaxel as the standard treatment for patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC), a number of different agents have been tested but failed to demonstrate improvement in overall survival (OS). Recently, three novel compounds have demonstrated OS benefit and one other showed reduction in skeletal-related events (SREs). Sipuleucel-T, a novel vaccine, was approved by the US regulatory authorities in April 2010 for patients with early advanced prostate cancer. A new taxane, cabazitaxel, and abiraterone acetate, an androgen biosynthesis inhibitor, have shown an OS benefit in advanced CRPC after docetaxel, leading to drug approval. A new bone-targeting agent, denosumab, a receptor activator of nuclear factor κB ligand (RANKL) antagonist, showed a modest reduction in SREs in comparison to zoledronic acid in patients with bone metastases. Other promising novel agents are currently being tested in the clinical setting of advanced CRPC. These include, androgen receptor inhibitors (MDV3100), androgen biosynthesis inhibitors, angiogenesis inhibitors (thalidomide, lenalidomine, aflibercept, tasquinimod), a novel form of radiotherapy (radium-223), and immune-modulating compounds (PROSTVAC-VF). Improvements in progression-free survival and OS rates, observed with novel agents, in metastatic prostate cancer have led to a shift in treatment paradigm. The challenge will be to position the current established and expected novel treatments in the new landscape of metastatic prostate cancer and to determine at what point and time in the disease course they can best be administered.
PMCID: PMC3263924  PMID: 22295041
abiraterone; cabazitaxel; castration-resistant prostate cancer; MDV3100; sipuleucel-T; denosumab; zoledronic acid
18.  Evidence for the efficacy of enzalutamide in postchemotherapy metastatic castrate-resistant prostate cancer 
Therapeutic Advances in Urology  2013;5(4):201-210.
The treatment of metastatic castrate-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) has evolved rapidly with the recent approval of a number of treatments and agents, including docetaxel, sipuleucel T, abiraterone, cabazitaxel, and enzalutamide. Enzalutamide (previously MDV-3100) is a novel oral androgen receptor inhibitor that targets multiple steps in the androgen receptor signaling pathway. The randomized phase III AFFIRM study demonstrated significant improvements in a number of efficacy endpoints, including the primary endpoint of overall survival and secondary endpoints of progression-free survival, and time to prostate-specific antigen progression in patients with progressive mCRPC who had received prior treatment with docetaxel. Enzalutamide was well tolerated and there were comparable incidences of grade 3 or greater adverse events reported for the enzalutamide and placebo control arms in AFFIRM. Unlike some other treatments for mCRPC, enzalutamide does not require administration with steroids. The ongoing randomized phase III PREVAIL trial will investigate the efficacy and safety of enzalutamide in chemotherapy-naïve patients with mCRPC. Additional trials are investigating the use of enzalutamide in a number of disease settings.
PMCID: PMC3721441  PMID: 23904859
AFFIRM trial; enzalutamide; metastatic castrate resistant prostate cancer; PREVAIL trial
19.  TMPRSS2-ERG Status in Circulating Tumor Cells as a Predictive Biomarker of Sensitivity in Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer Patients Treated With Abiraterone Acetate 
European urology  2011;60(5):897-904.
Abiraterone acetate (AA) is an androgen biosynthesis inhibitor shown to prolong life in patients with castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) already treated with chemotherapy. AA treatment results in dramatic declines in prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in some patients and no declines in others, suggesting the presence of molecular determinants of sensitivity in tumors.
To study the role of transmembrane protease, serine 2 (TMPRSS2)–v-ets erythroblastosis virus E26 oncogene homolog (ERG) fusion, an androgen-dependent growth factor, in circulating tumor cells (CTCs) as a biomarker of sensitivity to AA.
Design, setting, and participants
The predictive value of TMPRSS2-ERG status was studied in 41 of 48 men with postchemotherapy-treated CRPC enrolled in sequential phase 2 AA trials.
Patients received AA 1000 mg daily and continuously.
TMPRSS2-ERG status was characterized by a sensitive, analytically valid reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction assay in CTCs enriched from ethylene-diaminetetraacetic acid anticoagulated blood obtained prior to AA treatment. Outcomes were measured by PSA Working Group 1 criteria.
Results and limitations
Standard procedures for specimen acquisition, processing, and testing using the validated TMPRSS2-ERG assay on a multiplex platform gave intra-assay and interassay coefficients of variation <7%. TMPRSS2-ERG fusion was present in 15 of 41 patients (37%), who had a median baseline CTC count of 17 (interquartile range: 7–103 cells per 7.5 ml). A PSA decline ≥50% was observed in 7 of 15 patients (47%) with the fusion and in 10 of 26 patients (38%) without the fusion. Although limited by the low number of patients, a posttherapy CTC count of less than five per 7.5 ml was prognostic for longer survival relative to a CTC count five or more. TMPRSS2-ERG status did not predict a decline in PSA or other clinical outcomes.
Molecular profiles of CTCs with an analytically valid assay identified the presence of the prostate cancer–specific TMPRSS2-ERG fusion but did not predict for response to AA treatment. This finding demonstrates the role of CTCs as surrogate tissue that can be obtained in a routine practice setting.
PMCID: PMC3185163  PMID: 21802835
Abiraterone; Biomarker; Circulating tumor cells; Prostate cancer; Prostate-specific antigen; TMPRSS2-ERG fusion
20.  Targeting the androgen receptor in the management of castration-resistant prostate cancer: rationale, progress, and future directions 
Current Oncology  2012;19(Suppl 3):S22-S31.
Since the year 2000, tremendous progress has been made in the understanding of castration-resistant prostate cancer (crpc), a disease state now recognized to retain androgen receptor (ar)—dependency in most cases. That understanding led to the rational design of novel therapeutic agents targeting hormonal pathways in metastatic crpc. Two new drugs—the CYP17 inhibitor abiraterone acetate and the potent ar antagonist enzalutamide—were recently shown to prolong overall survival after chemotherapy treatment in patients with metastatic disease, with the former agent also demonstrating impressive activity in the pre-chemotherapy setting. Other new drugs targeting the ar—as well as drugs targeting heat shock proteins that protect cytoplasmic ar from degradation—are currently undergoing clinical development.
This review briefly describes the molecular mechanisms underlying castration resistance and hormonal dependence in prostate tumours and summarizes the current ongoing and completed clinical trials that are targeting hormonal pathways in metastatic crpc. Potential mechanisms of resistance to these novel hormonal agents are reviewed. Finally, future research directions, including questions about drug sequencing and combination, are discussed.
PMCID: PMC3553559  PMID: 23355790
Prostate; androgen; castration; bicalutamide; abiraterone; enzalutamide; orteronel; galeterone; CYP17; ARN-509; ODM-201
21.  Phase II Trial of Bevacizumab, Thalidomide, Docetaxel, and Prednisone in Patients With Metastatic Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2010;28(12):2070-2076.
We previously demonstrated that thalidomide appears to add to the activity of docetaxel in metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). Phase II studies combining docetaxel with bevacizumab have had substantial antitumor activity. We hypothesized that the combination of docetaxel plus these antiangiogenic drugs with different targets would have substantial clinical activity. To explore safety and efficacy, this was tested in mice and in human patients.
Patients and Methods
Preclinical efficacy of the combination therapy was evaluated in PC3 xenograft mice. Sixty patients with progressive metastatic CRPC received intravenous docetaxel and bevacizumab plus oral thalidomide and prednisone. The primary end point was a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) decline of ≥ 50%. Secondary end points included time to progression, overall survival, and safety.
In the mouse model, combination therapy of docetaxel, bevacizumab, and thalidomide inhibited tumor growth most effectively. In the clinical trial, 90% of patients receiving the combination therapy had PSA declines of ≥ 50%, and 88% achieved a PSA decline of ≥ 30% within the first 3 months of treatment. The median time to progression was 18.3 months, and the median overall survival was 28.2 months in this group with a Halabi-predicted survival of 14 months. While toxicities were manageable, all patients developed grade 3/4 neutropenia.
The addition of bevacizumab and thalidomide to docetaxel is a highly active combination with manageable toxicities. The estimated median survival is encouraging, given the generally poor prognosis of this patient population. These results suggest that definitive clinical trials combining antiangiogenic agent combinations with docetaxel are warranted to improve treatment outcomes for patients with metastatic CRPC.
PMCID: PMC2860408  PMID: 20308663
22.  Intermittent versus Continuous Androgen Deprivation in Prostate Cancer 
The New England journal of medicine  2013;368(14):1314-1325.
Castration resistance occurs in most patients with metastatic hormone-sensitive prostate cancer who are receiving androgen-deprivation therapy. Replacing androgens before progression of the disease is hypothesized to prolong androgen dependence.
Men with newly diagnosed, metastatic, hormone-sensitive prostate cancer, a performance status of 0 to 2, and a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level of 5 ng per milliliter or higher received a luteinizing hormone–releasing hormone analogue and an antiandrogen agent for 7 months. We then randomly assigned patients in whom the PSA level fell to 4 ng per milliliter or lower to continuous or intermittent androgen deprivation, with patients stratified according to prior or no prior hormonal therapy, performance status, and extent of disease (minimal or extensive). The coprimary objectives were to assess whether intermittent therapy was noninferior to continuous therapy with respect to survival, with a one-sided test with an upper boundary of the hazard ratio of 1.20, and whether quality of life differed between the groups 3 months after randomization.
A total of 3040 patients were enrolled, of whom 1535 were included in the analysis: 765 randomly assigned to continuous androgen deprivation and 770 assigned to intermittent androgen deprivation. The median follow-up period was 9.8 years. Median survival was 5.8 years in the continuous-therapy group and 5.1 years in the intermittent-therapy group (hazard ratio for death with intermittent therapy, 1.10; 90% confidence interval, 0.99 to 1.23). Intermittent therapy was associated with better erectile function and mental health (P<0.001 and P = 0.003, respectively) at month 3 but not thereafter. There were no significant differences between the groups in the number of treatment-related high-grade adverse events.
Our findings were statistically inconclusive. In patients with metastatic hormone-sensitive prostate cancer, the confidence interval for survival exceeded the upper boundary for noninferiority, suggesting that we cannot rule out a 20% greater risk of death with intermittent therapy than with continuous therapy, but too few events occurred to rule out significant inferiority of intermittent therapy. Intermittent therapy resulted in small improvements in quality of life. (Funded by the National Cancer Institute and others; number, NCT00002651.)
PMCID: PMC3682658  PMID: 23550669
23.  Phase II Study of Abiraterone Acetate Plus Prednisone in Chemotherapy-Naïve Metastatic Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer Demonstrating Radiographic Flare Discordant With Serologic Measures of Response 
Abiraterone is an oral inhibitor of CYP17, essential for androgen biosynthesis. This multicenter study assessed its efficacy in patients with CRPC without prior exposure to chemotherapy or CYP17 targeted therapy, and assessed the frequency of interpretation of bone scans discordant with PSA and clinical response.
Patients and Methods
33 patients received abiraterone acetate 1000 mg daily with prednisone 5 mg twice daily in continuous 28-day cycles. Patients were evaluated monthly for efficacy and safety. Bone scan flare was defined as the combination, after 3 months of therapy, of an interpreting radiologist's report indicating “disease progression” in the context of a ≥50% decline in PSA, with scan improvement 3 months later.
A ≥ 50% PSA decline at week 12 was confirmed in 22/33 (67%) patients. PSA declines of ≥ 50% were seen in 26 (79%) patients. Undetectable PSA levels (≤ 0.1 ng/mL) occurred in 2 patients. Median time on therapy and time to PSA progression are 63 and 71 weeks, respectively. Twenty three patients were evaluable for bone scan flare. Progression was indicated in the radiologist's report in 12/23 (52 %), and 10/12 subsequently showed improvement. As prospectively defined, bone scan flare was observed in 10/23 (43.5%) evaluable patients or 10/33 (30%) enrolled patients. Adverse events were typically grade 1/2 and consistent with prior published abiraterone reports.
Clinical response to abiraterone acetate plus prednisone was frequent and durable in men with metastatic CRPC progressing on hormonal therapy with over half of patients on therapy > 1 year. Further investigation is needed to clarify the potential confounding effect of the frequently occurring bone scan flare phenomena on patient management and interpretation of clinical trial results.
PMCID: PMC3657705  PMID: 21632851
abiraterone acetate; castration-resistant prostate cancer; CRPC; hormone-resistant prostate cancer; therapy; efficacy
24.  Management Options in Advanced Prostate Cancer: What is the Role for Sipuleucel-T? 
Most prostate cancer-related deaths occur in patients with castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). Until recently, only therapy with docetaxel and prednisone has been shown to prolong survival in men with metastatic CRPC. With the United States Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) approvals of sipuleucel-T, cabazitaxel, and abiraterone acetate, all based on improvement in overall survival, the landscape for management of men with metastatic CRPC has dramatically changed. In this review we will discuss the pivotal clinical trial data leading to these approvals, with particular focus on the unique indication for sipuleucel-T and the implications for optimal management and sequencing of treatment in this patient population.
PMCID: PMC3210626  PMID: 22084621
Castration-resistant prostate cancer; sipuleucel-T; chemotherapy; abiraterone acetate; cabazitaxel
25.  Intermittent Androgen Suppression for Rising PSA Level after Radiotherapy 
The New England journal of medicine  2012;367(10):895-903.
Intermittent androgen deprivation for prostate-specific antigen (PSA) elevation after radiotherapy may improve quality of life and delay hormone resistance. We assessed overall survival with intermittent versus continuous androgen deprivation in a noninferiority randomized trial.
We enrolled patients with a PSA level greater than 3 ng per milliliter more than 1 year after primary or salvage radiotherapy for localized prostate cancer. Intermittent treatment was provided in 8-month cycles, with nontreatment periods determined according to the PSA level. The primary end point was overall survival. Secondary end points included quality of life, time to castration-resistant disease, and duration of nontreatment intervals.
Of 1386 enrolled patients, 690 were randomly assigned to intermittent therapy and 696 to continuous therapy. Median follow-up was 6.9 years. There were no significant between-group differences in adverse events. In the intermittent-therapy group, full testosterone recovery occurred in 35% of patients, and testosterone recovery to the trial-entry threshold occurred in 79%. Intermittent therapy provided potential benefits with respect to physical function, fatigue, urinary problems, hot flashes, libido, and erectile function. There were 268 deaths in the intermittent-therapy group and 256 in the continuous-therapy group. Median overall survival was 8.8 years in the intermittent-therapy group versus 9.1 years in the continuous-therapy group (hazard ratio for death, 1.02; 95% confidence interval, 0.86 to 1.21). The estimated 7-year cumulative rates of disease-related death were 18% and 15% in the two groups, respectively (P = 0.24).
Intermittent androgen deprivation was noninferior to continuous therapy with respect to overall survival. Some quality-of-life factors improved with intermittent therapy. (Funded by the Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute and others; number, NCT00003653.)
PMCID: PMC3521033  PMID: 22931259

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