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The treatment of cancer patients with conventional chemotherapy is sometimes associated with severe systemic toxicity and only a minimal survival benefit. Because of this, new less toxic and more efficacious treatments have been sought. 8-Chloro-cAMP (8-Cl-cAMP) is one of a new generation of anticancer drugs that act at the level of signal transduction. In preclinical models, 8-Cl-cAMP modulates protein kinase A (PKA) leading to growth inhibition and increased differentiation of cancer cells. 8-Cl-cAMP was given to 16 patients with advanced cancer as an infusion via an indwelling subclavian venous catheter. We showed that 8-Cl-cAMP had a parathyroid hormone-like effect leading to increased synthesis of renal 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D [up to 14 times the baseline value, median 3.6 times; P = 0.00001 (Student's paired t test)]. This produced the dose-limiting toxicity of reversible hypercalcemia that could not be controlled by the administration of either pamidronate or dexamethasone. The treatment was otherwise well tolerated, and other cAMP-dependent pathways (cortisol and TSH) were not affected, emphasizing the marked differences between organs in their sensitivity to this cAMP analog. Our results have shown that 8-Cl-cAMP is biologically active, and it is feasible that if the hypercalcemia can be controlled, then this drug may have a role as a single agent, or as a short infusion between cycles of chemotherapy.

Original publication




Journal article


J Clin Endocrinol Metab

Publication Date





4044 - 4048


8-Bromo Cyclic Adenosine Monophosphate, Adolescent, Adult, Antineoplastic Agents, Cyclic AMP, Dose-Response Relationship, Drug, Feasibility Studies, Humans, Hypercalcemia, Neoplasms, Parathyroid Hormone, Vitamin D