The ansamycin class of natural products is well known for its anti-tumor effects and has been extensively studied by cancer researchers for nearly four decades. The first description of geldanamycin in the scientific literature appeared in 1970 and nearly thirty years later the semi-synthetic derivative 17-AAG, or tanespimycin, entered Phase 1 clinical trials. In the subsequent years, three additional geldanamycin derivatives have entered clinical evaluation. Kosan Biosciences developed 17-DMAG or alvespimycin hydrochloride for clinical evaluation as both an intravenous and oral product. Infinity Pharmaceuticals is developing IPI-504 or retaspimycin hydrochloride as an intravenous product, which is in several Phase 2 clinical trials; IPI-504 is the hydroquinone hydrochloride salt of 17-AAG. More recently, Infinity Pharmaceuticals initiated a Phase 1 clinical trial with an oral formulation of 17-AG (IPI-493), the major metabolite of 17- AAG and IPI-504. Since a vast amount of scientific literature exists regarding the ansamycin field and Hsp90 inhibition, this review will survey key milestones in the development of the natural product class as anti-cancer drugs including discovery of the compounds and their anti-tumor effects, identification of Hsp90 as their biological target, the structureactivity relationships that have been identified in this interesting class of compounds, and development of clinical candidates for the treatment of cancer patients. A brief overview of important pre-clinical development data from each clinical lead is also provided.
Keywords: Hsp90, ansamycin, geldanamycin, 17-AAG, IPI-504, IPI-493, 17-DMAG, cancer
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