Retinoids in combination therapies for the treatment of cancer: mechanisms and perspectives

Drug Resist Updat. Jul-Aug 2002;5(3-4):162-75. doi: 10.1016/s1368-7646(02)00050-x.


Retinoid derivatives have been of special interest in cancer research because of their antiproliferative and differentiation-inducing activities in premalignant and malignant cells. Some retinoids are clinically effective in cancer therapy and prevention, and all-trans-retinoic acid is being used for the treatment of acute promyelocytic leukemia. Unfortunately, classical retinoids are not effective against most advanced solid tumors and cause undesirable side effects, which have limited the full development of retinoids as chemopreventive and chemotherapeutic drugs. The recent identification of selective retinoid derivatives capable of inducing apoptosis and their combination with other anticancer therapies promises a more effective and less toxic manner to the successful use of retinoids in cancer therapy.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Retinoids / therapeutic use*
  • Stereoisomerism
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • Retinoids