Antagonists of retinoic acid receptors (RARs) are potent growth inhibitors of prostate carcinoma cells

Lisette Hammond, CHV Krinks, Jennifer Durham, SE Tomkins, RD Burnett, Edward Jones, RAS Chandraratna, Geoffrey Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Citations (Scopus)


Novel synthetic antagonists of retinoic acid receptors (RARs) have been developed. To avoid interference by serum retinoids when testing these compounds, we established serum-free grown sub-lines (>3 years) of the prostate carcinoma lines LNCaP, PC3 and DU145. A high affinity pan-RAR antagonist (AGN194310, K(d) for binding to RARs = 2-5 nM) inhibited colony formation (by 50%) by all three lines at 16-34 nM, and led to a transient accumulation of flask-cultured cells in G1 followed by apoptosis. AGN194310 is 12-22 fold more potent than all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) against cell lines and also more potent in inhibiting the growth of primary prostate carcinoma cells. PC3 and DU145 cells do not express RARbeta, and an antagonist with predominant activity at RARbeta and RARgamma (AGN194431) inhibited colony formation at concentrations (approximately 100 nM) commensurate with a K(d)value of 70 nM at RARgamma. An RARalpha antagonist (AGN194301) was less potent (IC(50) approximately 200 nM), but was more active than specific agonists of RARalpha and of betagamma. A component(s) of serum and of LNCaP-conditioned medium diminishes the activity of antagonists: this factor is not the most likely candidates IGF-1 and EGF. In vitro studies of RAR antagonists together with data from RAR-null mice lead to the hypothesis that RARgamma-regulated gene transcription is necessary for the survival and maintenance of prostate epithelium. The increased potencies of RAR antagonists, as compared with agonists, suggest that antagonists may be useful in the treatment of prostate carcinoma.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)453-462
Number of pages10
JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
Early online date3 Aug 2001
Publication statusPublished - 3 Aug 2001


  • retinoic acid receptors
  • RAR antagonists
  • apoptosis
  • growth inhibition
  • prostate cancer


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