Pharmacologic basis for the enhanced efficacy of dutasteride against prostatic cancers

Yi Xu, Susan L. Dalrymple, Robyn E. Becker, Samuel R. Denmeade, John T. Isaacs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


Purpose: Prostatic dihydrotestosterone (DHT) concentration is regulated by precursors from systemic circulation and prostatic enzymes of androgen metabolism, particularly 5α-reductases (i.e., SRD5A1 and SRD5A2). Therefore, the levels of expression SRD5A1 and SRD5A2 and the antiprostatic cancer growth response to finasteride, a selective SRD5A2 inhibitor, versus the dual SRD5A1 and SRD5A2 inhibitor, dutasteride, were compared. Experimental Design: Real-time PCR and enzymatic assays were used to determine the levels of SRD5A1 and SRD5A2 in normal versus malignant rat and human prostatic tissues. Rats bearing the Dunning R-3327H rat prostate cancer and nude mice bearing LNCaP or PC-3 human prostate cancer xenografts were used as model systems. Tissue levels of testosterone and DHT were determined using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. Results: Prostate cancer cells express undetectable to low levels of SRD5A2 but elevated levels of SRD5A1 activity compared with nonmalignant prostatic tissue. Daily oral treatment of rats with the SRD5A2 selective inhibitor, finasteride, reduces prostate weight and DHT content but did not inhibit R-3327H rat prostate cancer growth or DHT content in intact (i.e., noncastrated) male rats. In contrast, daily oral treatment with even a low 1 mg/kg/d dose of the dual SRD5A1 and SRD5A2 inhibitor, dutasteride, reduces both normal prostate and H tumor DHTcontent and weight in intact rats while elevating tissue testosterone. Daily oral treatment with finasteride significantly (P < 0.05) inhibits growth of LNCaP human prostate cancer xenografts in intact male nude mice, but this inhibition is not as great as that by equimolar oral dosing with dutasteride. This anticancer efficacy is not equivalent, however, to that produced by castration. Only combination of dutasteride and castration produces a greater tumor inhibition (P < 0.05) than castration monotherapy against androgen-responsive LNCaP cancers. In contrast, no response was induced by dutasteride in nude mice bearing androgen-independent PC-3 human prostatic cancer xenografts. Conclusions: These results document that testosterone is not as potent as DHT but does stimulate prostate cancer growth, thus combining castration with dutasteride enhances therapeutic efficacy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4072-4079
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 1 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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