Synthetic retinoids as inducers of apoptosis in ovarian carcinoma cell lines

J Cell Physiol. 2004 Jun;199(3):317-29. doi: 10.1002/jcp.10338.


Apoptosis is also known as programmed cell death. Apoptosis plays an essential role in maintaining normal tissue and cell physiology in multicellular organisms. Clearance of aberrant or pre-cancerous cells occurs through the induction of apoptosis. It has been reported that many tumors and tumor cell lines have dysfunctional apoptosis signaling, causing these tumors to escape immune monitoring and internal cellular control mechanisms. One potential cause of this dysfunctional apoptosis is the tumor suppressor p53, an important regulator of growth arrest and apoptosis that is mutated in over 50% of all cancers. Retinoids have great potential in the areas of cancer therapy and chemoprevention. While some tumor cells are sensitive to the growth inhibitory effects of natural retinoids such as all-trans-retinoic acid (ATRA), many ovarian tumor cells are not. 6-[3-(1-Admantyl)]-4-hydroxyphenyl]-2-naphthalene carboxylic acid (CD437) and fenretinide N-[4-hydroxyphenyl] retinamide (4-HPR) are conformationally restricted synthetic retinoids that induce growth arrest and apoptosis in both ATRA-sensitive and ATRA-resistant ovarian tumor cell lines. Recently, we have identified the molecular pathways of apoptosis induced by treatment of ovarian carcinoma cells with mutated p53 by CD437 and 4-HPR.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Apoptosis / physiology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Female
  • Fenretinide / pharmacology
  • Genes, p53
  • Humans
  • Mitochondria / drug effects
  • Mitochondria / pathology
  • Mutation
  • Ovarian Neoplasms
  • Retinoids / pharmacology*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • CD 437
  • Retinoids
  • Fenretinide