Bioactivities of N-(4-hydroxyphenyl) retinamide and retinoyl beta-glucuronide

FASEB J. 1996 Jul;10(9):1014-24. doi: 10.1096/fasebj.10.9.8801162.


N-(4-Hydroxyphenyl) retinamide (4HPR) and retinoyl beta-glucuronide (RAG) are two derivatives of all-trans retinoic acid (RA) that show properties both similar to as well as different from their parent compound, RA. Both retinoids possess the important property of showing much-reduced toxicity relative to RA while maintaining significant biological activity. 4HPR, a synthetic derivative, is active in the prevention and treatment of a variety of neoplasms in animals, and by inducing apoptosis, shows growth inhibitory activity against many human tumor cell types in vitro. In humans, 4HPR reduces the incidence of new occurrences of leukoplakia and is currently being tested as a preventive agent for breast cancer. RAG, a naturally occurring metabolite of RA, effectively stimulates the growth of vitamin A-deficient animals, induces the differentiation of epithelial cells in vivo and in vitro, and is effective in the topical treatment of acne in humans. Unlike RA, RAG is nontoxic when applied to the skin and is nonteratogenic when given orally to rats. Possible mechanisms of action of both compounds are discussed. These two derivatives of retinoids show interesting physiologic effects and potentially beneficial pharmacologic actions.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects
  • Fenretinide / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Rats
  • Tretinoin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Tretinoin / pharmacology


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Fenretinide
  • retinoyl glucuronide
  • Tretinoin