Rational design and synthesis of androgen receptor-targeted nonsteroidal anti-androgen ligands for the tumor-specific delivery of a doxorubicin-formaldehyde conjugate

J Med Chem. 2003 Nov 20;46(24):5258-70. doi: 10.1021/jm0303305.


The synthesis and preliminary evaluation of a doxorubicin-formaldehyde conjugate tethered to the nonsteroidal antiandrogen, cyanonilutamide (RU 56279), for the treatment of prostate cancer are reported. The relative ability of the targeting group to bind to the human androgen receptor was studied as a function of tether. The tether served to attach the antiandrogen to the doxorubicin-formaldehyde conjugate via an N-Mannich base of a salicylamide derivative. The salicylamide was selected to serve as a trigger release mechanism to separate the doxorubicin-formaldehyde conjugate from the targeting group after it has bound to the androgen receptor. The remaining part of the tether consisted of a linear group that spanned from the 5-position of the salicylamide to the 3'-position of cyanonilutamide. The structures explored for the linear region of the tether were derivatives of di(ethylene glycol), tri(ethylene glycol), N,N'-disubstituted-piperazine, and 2-butyne-1,4-diol. Relative binding affinity of the tethers bound to the targeting group for human androgen receptor were measured using a (3)H-Mibolerone competition assay and varied from 18% of nilutamide binding for the butynediol-based linear region to less than 1% for one of the piperazine derivatives. The complete targeted drug with the butynediol-based linear region has a relative binding affinity of 10%. This relative binding affinity is encouraging in light of the cocrystal structure of human androgen receptor ligand binding domain bound to the steroid Metribolone which predicts very limited space for a tether connecting the antiandrogen on the inside to the cytotoxin on the outside.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Androgen Antagonists / chemical synthesis*
  • Androgen Antagonists / chemistry
  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / chemistry
  • Binding, Competitive
  • Cell Line
  • Doxorubicin / administration & dosage*
  • Doxorubicin / chemistry
  • Drug Delivery Systems
  • Drug Design
  • Formaldehyde / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Ligands
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Models, Molecular
  • Prodrugs / chemical synthesis*
  • Prodrugs / chemistry
  • Prodrugs / pharmacology
  • Receptors, Androgen / drug effects*
  • Receptors, Androgen / metabolism


  • Androgen Antagonists
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Ligands
  • Prodrugs
  • Receptors, Androgen
  • Formaldehyde
  • Doxorubicin