Retinoids have great promise in the area of cancer therapy and chemoprevention. These natural and synthetic derivatives of vitamin A have been shown to play an important role in regulating cell differentiation and proliferation. While all-trans-retinoic acid (ATRA) has been demonstrated to inhibit the growth of several ovarian tumor cell lines, other ovarian carcinoma cell lines have been found to be resistant to retinoid dependent growth suppression. Interestingly, a novel synthetic retinoid, CD437 or AHPN, has been demonstrated to inhibit the growth of both ATRA-sensitive (CA-OV3) and ATRA-resistant (SK-OV3) ovarian tumor cell lines as well as to induce apoptosis. The overall goal of this research was to understand the mechanism by which AHPN/CD437 induces apoptosis in ovarian tumor cell lines. Since a number of studies have demonstrated the importance of nuclear receptors (RARs and RXRs) in mediating cellular responses to retinoids, we wished to determine the role of RARs in mediating the AHPN/CD437 response. We modulated RAR level and function by overexpressing either wild type RAR-gamma or a pan dominant negative mutant of all RAR subtypes called RAR-beta (R269Q), or through the use of an RAR-gamma antagonist, MM11253. We found that inhibition of RAR function reduced but did not eliminate induction of apoptosis in both CA-OV3 and SK-OV3 cells by AHPN/CD437. Likewise, overexpression of wild type RAR-gamma was found to increase apoptosis after treatment with AHPN/CD437. Our results suggest that in ovarian carcinomas, AHPN/CD437 induced apoptosis is mediated at least in part via an RAR pathway.
Copyright 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.