Mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) is characterized by translocation t(11;14)(q13;q32), aggressive clinical behaviour, and poor patient outcomes following conventional chemotherapy. New treatment approaches are needed that target novel biological pathways. All trans retinoic acid (ATRA) is a key retinoid that acts through nuclear receptors that function as ligand-inducible transcription factors. The present study evaluated cell killing effects of ATRA-enriched nanoscale delivery particles, termed nanodisks (ND), on MCL cell lines. Results show that ATRA-ND induced cell death more effectively than naked ATRA (dimethyl sulphoxide) or empty ND. ATRA-ND induced reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation to a greater extent than naked ATRA. The antioxidant, N-acetylcysteine, inhibited ATRA-ND induced apoptosis. Compared to naked ATRA, ATRA-ND enhanced G1 growth arrest, up-regulated p21and p27, and down regulated cyclin D1. At ATRA concentrations that induced apoptosis, expression levels of retinoic acid receptor-alpha (RARalpha) and retinoid X receptor-gamma (RXRgamma) were increased. Compared to naked ATRA, ATRA-ND significantly stimulated transcriptional activity of RARA in a model carcinoma cell line. Furthermore, the RAR antagonist, Ro 41-5253, inhibited ATRA-ND induced ROS generation and prevented ATRA-ND induced cell growth arrest and apoptosis. In summary, incorporation of ATRA into ND enhanced the biological activity of this retinoid in cell culture models of MCL.