The idea of “repurposing” of existing drugs provides an effective way to develop and identify new therapies.
Disulfiram (Antabuse), a drug commonly used for the treatment of alcoholism, shows promising anticancer activity in
both preclinical and clinical studies. In the human body, disulfiram is rapidly converted to its reduced metabolite,
diethyldithiocarbamate. If copper ions are available, a bis(diethyldithiocarbamate)-copper(II) complex is formed.
Disulfiram´s selective anticancer activity is attributed to the copper(II) complex´s ability to inhibit the cellular
proteasome. It is assumed that the complex inhibits the proteasome by a mechanism that is distinct to the clinically used
drug bortezomib, targeting the 19S rather than the 20S proteasome. This difference could be explained by inhibition of the
JAMM domain of the POH1 subunit within the lid of the 19S proteasome.
Keywords: Breast cancer, Copper, Disulfiram, JAMM domain, Proteasome.
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Published on: 03 September, 2012
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