Antiproliferative and cytotoxic effects of geldanamycin, cytochalasin E, suramin and thiacetazone in human prostate xenograft tumor histocultures

Pharm Res. 1998 Nov;15(11):1760-6. doi: 10.1023/a:1011921031564.


Purpose: We have shown that the three human prostate xenograft tumors, i.e. the androgen-dependent CWR22 tumor, and the androgen-resistant CWR22R and CWR91 tumors, are comparable to patient tumors in their expression of prostate specific antigen, multidrug resistance p-glycoprotein, p53 and Bcl-2 and in their sensitivity to doxorubicin and paclitaxel. The present study used histocultures of these xenograft tumors to evaluate the antiproliferative and cytotoxic effects of several drugs (geldanamycin, cytochalasin E and thiacetazone), which have diverse action mechanisms and have shown activity against primary cultures of human prostate cancer cells. Suramin, a clinically active compound was included for comparison. Methods. The antiproliferative effect of 96 h drug treatment was measured by inhibition of DNA precursor incorporation, and the cytotoxic or cell kill effect was measured by in situ DNA end labeling of apoptotic and necrotic cells and by reduction of live cell density.

Results: The rank order of molar potency was geldanamycin > cytochalasin E > suramin > or = thiacetazone. Thiacetazone produced antiproliferation only in CWR22 tumor and had no cytotoxicity, whereas the other three drugs produced both antiproliferation and cytotoxicity in all three tumors. Geldanamycin, but not cytochalasin E and suramin, showed greater antiproliferation and cytotoxicity in tumor cells compared to normal stromal cells. The two androgen-resistant tumors were 4 to >40-fold less sensitive than the androgen-dependent tumor to drug-induced antiproliferation but were about equally or 4 to >20-fold more sensitive to drug-induced cytotoxicity. The ratios of drug concentrations that produced 50% antiproliferation to the concentrations that produced 50% cytotoxicity ranged from <0.04 to 0.3 in CWR22 tumor, but ranged from 0.3 to 2.7 in CWR22R and CWR91 tumors, indicating a shift from antiproliferation as the predominant drug effect in the androgen-dependent tumor to cytotoxicity in the androgen-resistant tumors.

Conclusions: Our results indicate (a) differential drug effects in human prostate xenograft tumors with antiproliferation and cytotoxicity as the predominant drug effect in the androgen-dependent and androgen-resistant tumors, respectively, (b) that progression of tumors from androgen-dependent state to androgen-resistant state appears to be associated with a lower sensitivity to drug-induced antiproliferation and an equal or greater sensitivity to drug-induced cytotoxicity, and (c) that geldanamycin but not thiacetazone warrants further development.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Benzoquinones
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Culture Techniques
  • Cytochalasins / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Lactams, Macrocyclic
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Quinones / therapeutic use
  • Suramin / therapeutic use
  • Thioacetazone / therapeutic use
  • Transplantation, Heterologous


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Benzoquinones
  • Cytochalasins
  • Lactams, Macrocyclic
  • Quinones
  • cytochalasin E
  • Suramin
  • Thioacetazone
  • geldanamycin