Revealing Metabolic Liabilities of Ralaniten To Enhance Novel Androgen Receptor Targeted Therapies

Inhibition of the androgen receptor (AR) is the mainstay treatment for advanced prostate cancer. Ralaniten (formally EPI-002) prevents AR transcriptional activity by binding to its N-terminal domain (NTD) which is essential for transcriptional activity. Ralaniten acetate (EPI-506) the triacetate pro-drug of ralaniten, remains the only AR-NTD inhibitor to have entered clinical trials (NCT02606123). While well tolerated, the trial was ultimately terminated due to poor pharmacokinetic properties and resulting pill burden. Here we discovered that ralaniten was glucuronidated which resulted in decreased potency. Long-term treatment of prostate cancer cells with ralaniten results in upregulation of UGT2B enzymes with concomitant loss of potency. This has proven to be a useful model with which to facilitate the development of more potent second-generation AR-NTD inhibitors. Glucuronidated metabolites of ralaniten were also detected in the serum of patients in Phase 1 clinical trials. Therefore, we tested an analogue of ralaniten (EPI-045) which was resistant to glucuronidation and demonstrated superiority to ralaniten in our resistant model. These data support that analogues of ralaniten designed to mitigate glucuronidation may optimize clinical responses to AR-NTD inhibitors.