Bcl-2 family of proteins as therapeutic targets in genitourinary neoplasms

Connor Hall, Sarah M. Troutman, Douglas K. Price, William D. Figg, Min H. Kang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Introduction: Overexpression of antiapoptotic B-cell lymphoma (Bcl-2) proteins confers the dysregulation of apoptosis and results in drug resistance in a variety of cancers, including those of the genitourinary tract. Inhibitors that target prosurvival Bcl-2 proteins are in preclinical and clinical development. The objective of this review is to assess the involvement of Bcl-2 proteins as well as the preclinical and clinical activity of Bcl-2 inhibitors under evaluation for genitourinary neoplasms. Materials and Methods: PubMed was used with both medical subject heading terms and free search to identify the relevant literature. Information on clinical trials was obtained using http://Clincaltrials.gov, EU Clinical Trials Register, and meeting abstracts of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. Results: To date, 2 Bcl-2 inhibitors have been evaluated in clinical trials for genitourinary tumors (oblimersen and AT-101 (R-(-)-gossypol)). Both agents demonstrated some success in early stages of development, but their clinical activity did not meet expectations. Preclinical studies are under way for other Bcl-2 inhibitors including ABT-737, HA14-1, and Bcl-2 homology 3 inhibitors. Conclusion: Antiapoptotic Bcl-2 proteins are potential molecular targets in genitourinary cancers. Bcl-2 inhibitors might be effective as single agents or in combination with conventional therapies. However, the biology of the Bcl-2 family in genitourinary cancers remains poorly understood and robust preclinical studies are needed to inform clinical development. Such studies should aim to identify: (1) pharmacodynamic markers that could help guide patient selection for treatment with Bcl-2 inhibitors, and (2) optimal combinations of Bcl-2 inhibitors with other anticancer agents for future clinical investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-19
Number of pages10
JournalClinical Genitourinary Cancer
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Apoptosis
  • Bcl-2 inhibitors


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