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      Antiangiogenic Effect of Itraconazole on Corneal Neovascularization: A Pilot Experimental Investigation

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          Purpose: To investigate the antiangiogenic effect of itraconazole for the prevention of experimentally induced corneal neovascularization and whether the efficacy depends on the route of administration. Materials and Methods: Thirty-six rats were randomly divided into 6 groups with 6 rats in each group. Chemical cauterization of the cornea was performed using silver nitrate/potassium nitrate sticks, and the rats were subsequently treated daily with topical (10 mg/ml), subconjunctival (10 mg/ml) or intraperitoneal (19 mg/kg) itraconazole for 7 days. Control rats received topical, subconjunctival or intraperitoneal 0.9% saline. On the 8th day of the experiment, the rat corneas were photographed to determine the percentage area of the cornea covered by neovascularization. The maximum density of corneal neovascularization was determined by microscopy. Results: The median percentage of corneal neovascularization for group 1 was 31.5% (95% confidence interval, 27.5-35.5%); in group 3, it was 32% (23.5-39.8%); in group 5, it was 47% (36.3-60.0%). The percentages of corneal neovascularization in groups 2, 4 and 6 (the control groups) were 70% (95% confidence interval, 60.7-77.3%), 69% (63.0-77.7%) and 68% (56.5-78.5%), respectively. The area of neovascularization was smaller after itraconazole treatment as compared to saline treatment. Further, the area of neovascularization was smaller after topical and subconjunctival administration than after intraperitoneal administration. Histological evaluation of the corneas showed the most extensive corneal neovascularization in the control group. No local or systemic adverse effects were seen from either treatment group. Conclusion: Itraconazole reduces corneal neovascularization shortly after chemical burn. However, a larger experimental study is necessary to confirm the data of this investigation.

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          Most cited references 15

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          Corneal neovascularization.

          Corneal neovascularization (NV) is a sight-threatening condition usually associated with inflammatory or infectious disorders of the ocular surface. It has been shown in the field of cancer angiogenesis research that a balance exists between angiogenic factors (such as fibroblast growth factor and vascular endothelial growth factor) and anti-angiogenic molecules (such as angiostatin, endostatin, or pigment epithelium derived factor) in the cornea. Several inflammatory, infectious, degenerative, and traumatic disorders are associated with corneal NV, in which the balance is tilted towards angiogenesis. The pathogenesis of corneal NV may be influenced by matrix metalloproteinases and other proteolytic enzymes. New medical and surgical treatments, including angiostatic steroids, nonsteroidal inflammatory agents, argon laser photocoagulation, and photodynamic therapy have been effective in animal models to inhibit corneal NV and transiently restore corneal "angiogenic privilege."
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            Itraconazole, a commonly used antifungal that inhibits Hedgehog pathway activity and cancer growth.

            In a screen of drugs previously tested in humans we identified itraconazole, a systemic antifungal, as a potent antagonist of the Hedgehog (Hh) signaling pathway that acts by a mechanism distinct from its inhibitory effect on fungal sterol biosynthesis. Systemically administered itraconazole, like other Hh pathway antagonists, can suppress Hh pathway activity and the growth of medulloblastoma in a mouse allograft model and does so at serum levels comparable to those in patients undergoing antifungal therapy. Mechanistically, itraconazole appears to act on the essential Hh pathway component Smoothened (SMO) by a mechanism distinct from that of cyclopamine and other known SMO antagonists, and prevents the ciliary accumulation of SMO normally caused by Hh stimulation. Copyright 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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              Repurposing itraconazole as a treatment for advanced prostate cancer: a noncomparative randomized phase II trial in men with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer.

              The antifungal drug itraconazole inhibits angiogenesis and Hedgehog signaling and delays tumor growth in murine prostate cancer xenograft models. We conducted a noncomparative, randomized, phase II study evaluating the antitumor efficacy of two doses of oral itraconazole in men with metastatic prostate cancer. We randomly assigned 46 men with chemotherapy-naïve metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) to receive low-dose (200 mg/day) or high-dose (600 mg/day) itraconazole until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity. The primary endpoint was the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) progression-free survival (PPFS) rate at 24 weeks; a 45% success rate in either arm was prespecified as constituting clinical significance. Secondary endpoints included the progression-free survival (PFS) rate and PSA response rate (Prostate Cancer Working Group criteria). Exploratory outcomes included circulating tumor cell (CTC) enumeration, serum androgen measurements, as well as pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic analyses. The high-dose arm enrolled to completion (n = 29), but the low-dose arm closed early (n = 17) because of a prespecified futility rule. The PPFS rates at 24 weeks were 11.8% in the low-dose arm and 48.0% in the high-dose arm. The median PFS times were 11.9 weeks and 35.9 weeks, respectively. PSA response rates were 0% and 14.3%, respectively. In addition, itraconazole had favorable effects on CTC counts, and it suppressed Hedgehog signaling in skin biopsy samples. Itraconazole did not reduce serum testosterone or dehydroepiandrostenedione sulfate levels. Common toxicities included fatigue, nausea, anorexia, rash, and a syndrome of hypokalemia, hypertension, and edema. High-dose itraconazole (600 mg/day) has modest antitumor activity in men with metastatic CRPC that is not mediated by testosterone suppression.

                Author and article information

                Ophthalmic Res
                Ophthalmic Research
                S. Karger AG
                November 2014
                21 October 2014
                : 52
                : 4
                : 170-174
                aDepartment of Ophthalmology, Konya Training and Research Hospital, and bDepartment of Histology and Embryology, Selcuk University, Konya, Turkey
                Author notes
                *Sertan Goktas, Department of Ophthalmology, Konya Training and Research Hospital, TR-42090 Meram-Konya (Turkey), E-Mail drsertandr@gmail.com
                366283 Ophthalmic Res 2014;52:170-174
                © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel

                Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug. Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.

                Page count
                Figures: 2, Tables: 2, Pages: 5
                Original Paper


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