Suramin, a polyanionic compound originally synthesized for use as an antiparasitic agent, has recently entered clinical trials for the treatment of a variety of human cancers refractory to conventional modalities of therapy. This is based on suramin's ability to bind and to inactivate growth factor and enzyme systems critical to cellular homeostasis and proliferation. In addition, this compound possesses adrenocorticolytic properties in vivo and exerts significant cytostatic and cytocidal effects against a variety of human tumor cell lines in vitro. Pilot studies using suramin have thus far been conducted in adrenocortical carcinoma, prostate cancer refractory to conventional hormonal manipulation and nodular lymphomas.
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