2006 SARMs Research

Discovery of potent, orally-active, and muscle-selective androgen receptor modulators based on an N-aryl-hydroxybicyclohydantoin scaffold.

Sun C, Robl JA, Wang TC, Huang Y, Kuhns JE, Lupisella JA, Beehler BC, Golla R, Sleph PG, Seethala R, Fura A, Krystek SR Jr, An Y, Malley MF, Sack JS, Salvati ME, Grover GJ, Ostrowski J, Hamann LG.

Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical Research Institute, Post Office Box 5400, Princeton, NJ 08543-5400, USA. chongqing.sun@bms.com

A novel, N-aryl-bicyclohydantoin selective androgen receptor modulator scaffold was discovered through structure-guided modifications of androgen receptor antagonists. A prototype compound (7R,7aS)-10b from this series is a potent and highly tissue-selective agonist of the androgen receptor. After oral dosing in a rat atrophied levator ani muscle model, (7R,7aS)-10b demonstrated efficacy at restoring levator ani muscle mass to that of intact controls and exhibited >50-fold selectivity for muscle over prostate.


Selective androgen receptor modulators: in pursuit of tissue-selective androgens.

Omwancha J, Brown TR.

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Division of Reproductive Biology, 615 North Wolfe Street, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.

The androgen receptor mediates the androgenic and anabolic activity of the endogenous steroids testosterone and 5alpha-dihydrotestosterone. Current knowledge of the androgen receptor protein structure, and the molecular mechanisms surrounding the binding properties and activities of agonists and antagonists has led to the design and development of novel nonsteroidal ligands with selected tissue-specific androgen receptor agonist and antagonist activities. The activity of these compounds, termed selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs), is directed toward the maintenance or enhancement of anabolic effects on bone and muscle with minimal androgenic effects on prostate growth. SARMs are of potential therapeutic value in the treatment of male hypogonadism, osteoporosis, frailty and muscle wasting, burn injury and would healing, anemia, mood and depression, benign prostatic hyperplasia and prostate cancer.


Emerging drugs for hypogonadism.

Edelstein D, Dobs A, Basaria S.

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Baltimore, MD, USA.

Male hypogonadism is a common endocrine problem that affects men of all ages. Recently, there has been a surge in testosterone use among middle-aged and older men who in the past may have been considered to have borderline or even normal testosterone levels. This increasing use of testosterone therapy among men has paralleled the increasing improvements in the development of treatments for male hypogonadism that have been made over the past few decades. Current therapies using transdermal formulations and long-acting injectables such as testosterone undecanoate are quickly replacing the old injectable testosterone esters. In recent years, pharmaceutical sales and prescription data have readily shown a shift in the testosterone marketplace towards greater use of slightly more expensive treatments such as transdermal therapies, which are easier to administer and yield more physiological levels of testosterone. On the horizon are several new compounds in development, such as selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMS), 7alpha-methyl-19-nortestosterone, aromatase inhibitors, clomifene, dihydrotestosterone and human chorionic gonadotropin. Compounds such as SARMs are designed to selectively target androgen receptors in specific tissues (such as bone and muscles), in the hope of dispersing some of the side effects experienced on the prostate, which are presently associated with therapy of exogenous testosterone.


A selective androgen receptor modulator that reduces prostate tumor size and prevents orchidectomy-induced bone loss in rats.

Allan G, Lai MT, Sbriscia T, Linton O, Haynes-Johnson D, Bhattacharjee S, Dodds R, Fiordeliso J, Lanter J, Sui Z, Lundeen S.

Reproductive Therapeutics, Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research and Development, L.L.C., 1000 Route 202 South, Room B-115, Raritan, NJ 08869, USA. allang090864@yahoo.com

The pharmacological activity of JNJ-26146900 is described. JNJ-26146900 is a nonsteroidal androgen receptor (AR) ligand with tissue-selective activity in rats. The compound was evaluated in in vitro and in vivo models of AR activity. It binds to the rat AR with a K(i) of 400nM and acts as a pure androgen antagonist in an in vitro cell-based assay. Its in vitro profile is similar to the androgen antagonist bicalutamide (Casodex). In intact rats, JNJ-26146900 reduces ventral prostate weight with an oral potency (ED(50)) of 20-30mg/kg, again comparable to that of bicalutamide. JNJ-26146900 prevented prostate tumor growth in the Dunning rat model, maximally inhibiting growth at a dose of 10mg/kg. It slowed tumor growth significantly in a CWR22-LD1 mouse xenograft model of human prostate cancer. It was tested in aged male rats for its ability to prevent bone loss and loss of lean body mass following orchidectomy. After 6 weeks of dosing, bone volume decreased by 33% in orchidectomized versus intact vehicle-treated rats with a probability (P) of less than 0.05, as measured by micro-computerized tomography analysis. At a dose of 30mg/kg, JNJ-26146900 significantly reduced castration-induced tibial bone loss as indicated by the following parameters: bone volume, trabecular connectivity, trabecular number and spacing between trabeculae. Bone mineral density decreased from 229+/-34mg/cm(3) of hydroxyapatite to 166+/-26mg/cm(3) following orchidectomy, and was maintained at 194+/-20mg/cm(3) with JNJ-26146900 treatment (P<0.05 relative to orchidectomy alone). Using magnetic resonance imaging, the compound was found to partially prevent orchidectomy-induced loss of lean body mass. Our data show that selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs) have the potential for anabolic effects on bone and muscle while maintaining therapeutic efficacy in prostate cancer.


Discovery of 6-N,N-bis(2,2,2-trifluoroethyl)amino- 4-trifluoromethylquinolin-2(1H)-one as a novel selective androgen receptor modulator.

van Oeveren A, Motamedi M, Mani NS, Marschke KB, López FJ, Schrader WT, Negro-Vilar A, Zhi L.

Discovery Research, Ligand Pharmaceuticals Inc., 10275 Science Center Drive, San Diego, California 92121, USA. avanoeveren@ligand.com

The androgen receptor is a member of the extended family of nuclear receptors and is widely distributed throughout the body. Androgen therapy is used to compensate for low levels of the natural hormones testosterone (T) and dihydrotestosterone and consists of administration of T, prodrugs thereof, or synthetic androgens. However, currently available androgens have many drawbacks. We identified 6-dialkylamino-4-trifluoromethylquinolin-2(1H)-ones as orally available tissue-selective androgen receptor modulators.


An orally active selective androgen receptor modulator is efficacious on bone, muscle, and sex function with reduced impact on prostate.

Miner JN, Chang W, Chapman MS, Finn PD, Hong MH, López FJ, Marschke KB, Rosen J, Schrader W, Turner R, van Oeveren A, Viveros H, Zhi L, Negro-Vilar A.

Research Development, Ligand Pharmaceuticals Inc., San Deigo, California 92121, USA. jminer@ligand.com

A number of conditions, including osteoporosis, frailty, and sexual dysfunction in both men and women have been improved using androgens. However, androgens are not widely used for these indications because of the side effects associated with these drugs. We describe an androgen receptor (AR) ligand that maintains expected anabolic activities with substantially diminished activity in the prostate. LGD2226 is a nonsteroidal, nonaromatizable, highly selective ligand for the AR, exhibiting virtually no affinity for the other intracellular receptors. We determined that AR bound to LGD2226 exhibits a unique pattern of protein-protein interactions compared with testosterone, fluoxymesterone (an orally available steroidal androgen), and other steroids, suggesting that LGD2226 alters the conformation of the ligand-binding domain. We demonstrated that LGD2226 is fully active in cell-based models of bone and muscle. LGD2226 exhibited anabolic activity on muscle and bone with reduced impact on prostate growth in rodent models. Biomechanical testing of bones from animals treated with LGD2226 showed strong enhancement of bone strength above sham levels. LGD2226 was also efficacious in a sex-behavior model in male rats measuring mounts, intromissions, ejaculations, and copulation efficiency. These results with an orally available, nonaromatizable androgen demonstrate the important role of the AR and androgens in mediating a number of beneficial effects in bone, muscle, and sexual function independent from the conversion of androgens into estrogenic ligands. Taken together, these results suggest that orally active, nonsteroidal selective androgen receptor modulators may be useful therapeutics for enhancing muscle, bone, and sexual function.


Drug insight: Testosterone and selective androgen receptor modulators as anabolic therapies for chronic illness and aging.

Bhasin S, Calof OM, Storer TW, Lee ML, Mazer NA, Jasuja R, Montori VM, Gao W, Dalton JT.

Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA 02118, USA. bhasin@bu.edu

Several regulatory concerns have hindered development of androgens as anabolic therapies, despite unequivocal evidence that testosterone supplementation increases muscle mass and strength in men; it induces hypertrophy of type I and II muscle fibers, and increases myonuclear and satellite cell number. Androgens promote differentiation of mesenchymal multipotent cells into the myogenic lineage and inhibit their adipogenic differentiation, by facilitating association of androgen receptors with beta-catenin and activating T-cell factor 4. Meta-analyses indicate that testosterone supplementation increases fat-free mass and muscle strength in HIV-positive men with weight loss, glucocorticoid-treated men, and older men with low or low-normal testosterone levels. The effects of testosterone on physical function and outcomes important to patients have not, however, been studied. In older men, increased hematocrit and increased risk of prostate biopsy and detection of prostate events are the most frequent, testosterone-related adverse events. Concerns about long-term risks have restrained enthusiasm for testosterone use as anabolic therapy. Selective androgen-receptor modulators that are preferentially anabolic and that spare the prostate hold promise as anabolic therapies. We need more studies to determine whether testosterone or selective androgen-receptor modulators can induce meaningful improvements in physical function and patient-important outcomes in patients with physical dysfunction associated with chronic illness or aging.


Therapeutic potential of the SARMs: revisiting the androgen receptor for drug discovery.

Segal S, Narayanan R, Dalton JT.

1GTx, Inc., Memphis, TN 38163, USA.

Selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMS) bind to the androgen receptor and demonstrate anabolic activity in a variety of tissues; however, unlike testosterone and other anabolic steroids, these nonsteroidal agents are able to induce bone and muscle growth, as well as shrinking the prostate. The potential of SARMS is to maximise the positive attributes of steroidal androgens as well as minimising negative effects, thus providing therapeutic opportunities in a variety of diseases, including muscle wasting associated with burns, cancer, end-stage renal disease, osteoporosis, frailty and hypogonadism. This review summarises androgen physiology, the current status of the R&D of SARMS and potential therapeutic indications for this emerging class of drugs.