Inosine 5-monophosphate dehydrogenase II, a key enzyme in the de novo synthesis of purine nucleotides, is expressed in prostate tumors and prostate cancer cells. AVN944 is a new, specific, noncompetitive IMPDH inhibitor. In this study, we investigated the effects of IMPDH inhibitor AVN944 on LNCaP, CWR22Rv1, DU145 and PC-3 human prostate cancer cells. AVN944 inhibited proliferation of these 4 prostate cancer cell lines and was associated with cell cycle G1 arrest of LNCaP cells and S-phase block of androgen-independent CWR22Rv1, DU145 and PC-3 cells. AVN944 induced caspase-dependentand caspase-independent cell death in LNCaP, CWR22Rv1, and DU145 cells. AVN944 induced expression of p53-target proteins Bok, Bax and Noxa in androgen-responsive cell lines and suppressed expression of survivin in prostate cancer cells regardless of their androgen sensitivity. AVN944 also induced differentiation of androgen-independent prostate cancer cells as indicated by morphological changes and increased expression of genes coding for prostasomal proteins, keratins and other proteins, including tumor suppressor genes MIG-6 and NDRG1. AVN944-differentiated androgen-independent DU145 and PC-3 cells are sensitized to TRAIL-induced apoptosis as demonstrated by induction of caspases and PARP cleavage. In summary, AVN944 inhibited the growth of human prostate cancer cells by inducing cell cycle arrest, cell death as well as differentiation. AVN944 is a novel, promising therapeutic agent that might be combined with other agents for treatment of human prostate cancer.