Effects of retinoids on cancerous phenotype and apoptosis in organotypic cultures of ovarian carcinoma

Published on Friday, 03 June 2016


BACKGROUND: Retinoic acid analogues, called retinoids, have shown promise in clinical trials in preventing breast and ovarian cancers. Classic retinoids bind to retinoic acid receptors, which regulate cell growth. Some novel retinoids, such as fenretinide, i.e., N-(4-hydroxyphenyl)retinamide (4-HPR), induce apoptosis through retinoic acid receptor-independent mechanisms; however, they appear to do so only at concentrations above those achieved in clinical chemoprevention trials. At lower concentrations (< or =1 microM), 4-HPR acts like classic retinoids, by inducing differentiation through a receptor-dependent mechanism. Our goal was to compare the effects of novel receptor-independent (apoptotic) retinoids with those of classic growth-inhibitory retinoids at clinically achievable doses on growth, differentiation, and apoptosis in ovarian tissue.

METHODS: Four receptor-independent (apoptotic) and seven growth-inhibitory retinoids, including synthetic, low-toxicity compounds called heteroarotinoids, were administered at concentrations of 1 microM to organotypic cultures of ovarian primary and cancer cell lines: OVCAR-3, Caov-3, and SK-OV-3. After fixation, embedding, and sectioning, the growth fraction was quantified by measuring expression of the proliferation marker Ki-67/myb, differentiation was assessed by expression of mucin, and apoptosis was evaluated by the TUNEL assay. Spearman correlation analysis was performed on the data, and all P values were two-sided.

RESULTS: All 11 retinoids reversed characteristics associated with the cancerous phenotype in all neoplastic cultures. Glandular structures were observed consistently in retinoid-treated, but not in untreated, OVCAR-3 and Caov-3 cultures. All retinoids decreased growth fractions, and some increased mucin expression. All receptor-independent retinoids and two receptor-dependent retinoids induced apoptosis, and the induction correlated significantly with increased expression of the mucin MUC1 (r =.83; P =.03). Retinoids with ester-linking groups did not induce apoptosis but decreased the growth fraction in correlation with MUC1 induction (r = -.93; P =.02).

CONCLUSIONS: At clinically achievable concentrations, all retinoids tested decrease the growth fraction, induce differentiation and apoptosis. Induction of MUC1 expression is implicated in the mechanisms of action.



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See also:

- All-Trans-Retinoic Acid (ATRA - analogues and/or derivatives);

- Solution of retinoids in vitamin E in the Di Bella Method biological multitherapy;

- Evaluation of the safety and efficacy of the first-line treatment with somatostatin combined with melatonin, retinoids, vitamin D3, and low doses of cyclophosphamide in 20 cases of breast cancer: a preliminary report;

- The Di Bella Method (DBM) improved survival, objective response and performance status in a retrospective observational clinical study on 122 cases of breast cancer;

- Complete objective response to biological therapy of plurifocal breast carcinoma.