We have synthesized and studied the ability of a series of seven novel 1α,25(OH)2 vitamin D3 analogues to inhibit clonal growth of prostate cancer cells (LNCaP, PC-3 and DU-145). Addition of double and triple bonds to the C/D ring (C-16) and side chain (C-22 and C-23) as well as lengthening of the side chain were important for enhanced activity against LNCaP and PC-3. Reorientation of the side chain in the 20-epi configuration resulted in analogues that were extremely potent only against LNCaP (ED50 ≈ 5 × 10−11 m). Compounds with six fluorines on the end of the side chain were very active against both PC-3 and LNCaP (ED50 ≈ 2 × 10−8 m). DU-145 cells were relatively resistant to compounds with all of these modifications, but removal of C-19 (e.g. 1,25(OH)2-16-ene-23-yne-26,27-F6-19-nor-D3) resulted in an analogue that was inhibitory against all three prostate cell lines. Further analysis showed that pulse exposure (3 days, 10−7 m) to this analogue was enough to inhibit clonal growth of PC-3 cells by 50%. The same exposure also induced cell cycle arrest of all three cell lines, accompanied by upregulated protein expression of the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor (CDKI) known as p21waf1 in all three cell lines, and the CDKI known as p27kip1 in LNCaP cells. Associated with upregulation of these CDKIs, partial differentiation occurred as measured by increased expression of both prostate-specific antigen by LNCaP cells and E-cadherin, a cell adhesion protein that may act as a putative tumour suppressor (LNCaP and PC-3 cells). In summary, this is the first report of a potent series of 19-nor-vitamin D3 analogues with the ability to inhibit proliferation of LNCaP, PC-3 and DU-145 prostate cancer cell lines. These compounds may mediate their potent anti-proliferative activities through a cell cycle arrest pathway.
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