Time course of fenretinide-induced modulation of circulating insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-i, IGF-II and IGFBP-3 in a bladder cancer chemoprevention trial

Int J Cancer. 2000 Aug 15;87(4):601-5. doi: 10.1002/1097-0215(20000815)87:4<601::aid-ijc22>3.0.co;2-w.


The insulin-like growth factor (IGF) system is widely involved in human carcinogenesis. A significant association between high circulating IGF-I concentrations and an increased risk of lung, colon, prostate and pre-menopausal breast cancer has recently been reported. Lowering plasma IGF-I may thus represent an attractive strategy to be pursued for chemopreventive purposes. We have previously shown that the synthetic retinoid fenretinide (4-HPR) lowers plasma IGF-I in pre-menopausal breast cancer patients. We investigated the effect of fenretinide on circulating IGF-I, IGF-II and IGFBP-3 measured at yearly intervals during the 2-year treatment period and one year after treatment discontinuation in a predominantly male population of patients with superficial bladder cancer. Repeated measures analysis, after adjustment for age, body mass index (BMI) and year of study, showed a significant effect of fenretinide on IGF-I levels, which were further lowered after the second year of treatment and only partially recovered after drug discontinuation. Differently from breast cancer patients, the effect of fenretinide was not modified by age. No significant effect was evident on IGFBP-3, IGF-II and the IGF-I+IGF-II/IGFBP-3 molar ratio, expressing the tissue availability of the mitogenic peptides, although IGF-II and the molar ratio were lowered by treatment by an overall mean of 16% and 15%, respectively. Given the increasingly recognized importance of circulating IGFs in the pathogenesis of different solid tumors, our findings strengthen the rationale for studying fenretinide as a chemopreventive agent.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / pharmacokinetics
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Biological Availability
  • Body Mass Index
  • Clinical Trials, Phase II as Topic
  • Female
  • Fenretinide / pharmacokinetics
  • Fenretinide / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 3 / blood*
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / metabolism*
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor II / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / blood*
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / prevention & control


  • Anticarcinogenic Agents
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 3
  • Fenretinide
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor II