Antiproliferative, proapoptotic, and tumor-suppressing effects of the novel anticancer agent alsevirone in prostate cancer cells and xenografts

Arch Pharm (Weinheim). 2022 Jan;355(1):e2100316. doi: 10.1002/ardp.202100316. Epub 2021 Oct 19.


The aim of this study was to explore the mechanisms of action of alsevirone in prostate cancer (PC) in vitro and in vivo: CYP17A1 inhibition, cytotoxic, apoptotic, and antitumor effects in comparison with abiraterone. The CYP17A1-inhibitory activity was investigated in rat testicular microsomes using high-performance liquid chromatography. Testosterone levels were evaluated using enzyme-linked immunoassay. IC50 values were calculated for PC3, DU-145, LNCaP, and 22Rv1 cells using the MTT (3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide) test. The antitumor effect in vivo was studied in DU-145 and 22Rv1 subcutaneous xenografts in Balb/c nude mice. Alsevirone reduced the CYP17A1-inhibitory activity by 98% ± 0.2%. A statistically significant reduction in the testosterone concentration in murine blood was recorded after the 7th administration of 300 mg/kg alsevirone at 0.31 ± 0.03 ng/ml (p < .001) versus 0.98 ± 0.22 ng/ml (p = .392) after abiraterone administration and 1.52 ± 0.49 ng/ml in control animals. Alsevirone was more cytotoxic than abiraterone in DU-145, LNCaP, and 22Rv1 cells, with IC50 values of 23.80 ± 1.18 versus 151.43 ± 23.70 μM, 22.87 ± 0.54 versus 28.80 ± 1.61 μM, and 35.86 ± 5.63 versus 109.87 ± 35.15 μM, respectively. Alsevirone and abiraterone significantly increased annexin V-positive, caspase 3/7-positive, and activated Bcl-2-positive cells. In 22Rv1 xenografts, alsevirone 300 mg/kg × 10/24 h per os inhibited tumor growth: on Day 9 of treatment, tumor growth inhibition = 59% (p = .022). Thus, alsevirone demonstrated significant antitumor activity associated with CYP17A1 inhibition, apoptosis in PC cells, and testosterone reduction.

Keywords: anticancer activity; antiproliferative agents; antitumor activity; cancer treatment; inhibitors.