Insights into the broad cellular effects of nelfinavir and the HIV protease inhibitors supporting their role in cancer treatment and prevention

Soren Gantt, Corey Casper, Richard F Ambinder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: The development of HIV protease inhibitors more than two decades ago heralded a new era in HIV care, changing the infection from universally fatal to chronic but controllable. With the widespread use of protease inhibitors, there was a reduction in the incidence and mortality of HIV-associated malignancies. Studies later found these drugs to have promising direct antitumor effects. RECENT FINDINGS: Protease inhibitors have a wide range of effects on several cellular pathways that are important for tumorigenesis and independent of inhibition of the HIV protease, including reducing angiogenesis and cell invasion, inhibition of the Akt pathway, induction of autophagy, and promotion of apoptosis. Among protease inhibitors, nelfinavir appears to have the most potent and broad antineoplastic activities, and also affects replication of the oncogenic herpesviruses Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus and Epstein-Barr virus. Nelfinavir is being studied for the prevention and treatment of a wide range of malignancies in persons with and without HIV infection. SUMMARY: Nelfinavir and other protease inhibitors are well tolerated, oral drugs that have promising antitumor properties, and may prove to play an important role in the prevention and treatment of several cancers. Additional insights into protease inhibitors' mechanisms of action may lead to the development of novel cancer chemotherapy agents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)495-502
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Opinion in Oncology
Volume25
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2013

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Nelfinavir
HIV Protease Inhibitors
Protease Inhibitors
Neoplasms
Antineoplastic Agents
HIV
HIV Protease
Human Herpesvirus 8
Herpesviridae
Autophagy
Human Herpesvirus 4
Pharmaceutical Preparations
HIV Infections
Carcinogenesis
Apoptosis
Mortality
Incidence
Infection

Keywords

  • Cancer
  • HIV protease inhibitor
  • Kaposi sarcoma
  • Nelfinavir
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

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