From the Cover: Fenretinide, Troglitazone, and Elmiron Add to Weight of Evidence Support for Hemangiosarcoma Mode-of-Action From Studies in Mice

Toxicol Sci. 2018 Jan 1;161(1):58-75. doi: 10.1093/toxsci/kfx195.


Pharmaceuticals and chemicals produce hemangiosarcomas (HS) in mice, often by nongenotoxic, proliferative mechanisms. A mode-of-action (MOA) for hemangiosarcoma was proposed based on information presented at an international workshop (Cohen et al., Hemangiosarcoma in rodents: Mode-of-action evaluation and human relevance. Toxicol. Sci. 111, 4-18.). Five key elements of the MOA were articulated and included hypoxia, macrophage activation, increased angiogenic growth factors, dysregulated angiogenesis/erythropoiesis, and endothial cell proliferation. The goal of the current study was to add to the weight-of-evidence for the proposed MOA by assessing these key elements with 3 different compounds of varying potency for HS induction: fenretinide (high), troglitazone (intermediate), and elmiron (low). Multiple endpoints, including hypoxia (hyproxyprobe, transcriptomics), endothelial cell (EC) proliferation, and clinical and anatomic pathology, were assessed after 2, 4, and 13-weeks of treatment in B6C3F1 mice. All 3 compounds demonstrated strong evidence for dysregulated erythropoiesis (decrease in RBC and a failure to increase reticulocytes) and macrophage activation (4- to 11-fold increases); this pattern of hematological changes in mice might serve as an early biomarker to evaluate EC proliferation in suspected target organs for potential HS formation. Fenretinide demonstrated all 5 key elements, while troglitazone demonstrated 4 and elmiron demonstrated 3. Transcriptomics provided support for the 5 elements of the MOA, but was not any more sensitive than hypoxyprobe immunohistochemistry for detecting hypoxia. The overall transcriptional evidence for the key elements of the proposed MOA was also consistent with the potency of HS induction. These data, coupled with the previous work with 2-butoxyethanol and pregablin, increase the weight-of-evidence for the proposed MOA for HS formation.

Keywords: endothelial cells; hemangiosarcoma; human relevance; hypoxia; mode-of-action.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Hypoxia / drug effects
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Endothelial Cells / drug effects
  • Fenretinide / toxicity*
  • Hemangiosarcoma / chemically induced*
  • Hemangiosarcoma / metabolism
  • Hemangiosarcoma / pathology
  • Macrophage Activation / drug effects
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / chemically induced*
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / metabolism
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / pathology
  • Organ Specificity
  • Pentosan Sulfuric Polyester / toxicity*
  • Troglitazone / toxicity*


  • Fenretinide
  • Pentosan Sulfuric Polyester
  • Troglitazone