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J Cell Biochem Suppl. 2000;34:73-9.

Quality control for HPLC assay and surrogate end point biomarkers from the fenretinide (4-HPR) breast cancer prevention trial.

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  • 1Istituto Nazionale Tumori, Milan, Italy.


The Fenretinide (4-HPR) Breast Cancer Study is a randomized multicenter clinical trial designed to evaluate the effectiveness of the synthetic retinoid 4-HPR, at a dose of 200 mg per os every day for 5 years, in reducing the incidence of contralateral breast cancer in patients previously operated on for T1-T2 N-M0 breast cancer. During the trial, blood samples were collected at baseline and on a yearly basis from most of the patients. Evaluation of drug and retinol concentrations by HPLC assay has been performed for all the samples to obtain 4-HPR pharmacokinetic information as well as information on the effect of 4-HPR in lowering retinol plasma levels. The most important criteria for validation and quality control of the HPLC assay are summarized in order to provide a guide and practical recommendations for analytical procedures to be performed during prevention trials. Studies have been performed on subsets of patients participating in the trial in order to identify circulating biomarkers predictive of breast cancer. Evidence has been obtained on a lowering effect of 4-HPR on biologically active IGF-I only in premenopausal women. This was due to a decrease of IGF-I, associated with a trend to an increase in IGF-I binding protein 3 (IGFBP-3). An interim analysis of the ongoing trial indicates that 4-HPR reduces the incidence of contralateral breast cancer only in premenopausal women. Analyses of total and unbound IGF-I are being performed on plasma samples collected at baseline and during intervention from women < or = 50 years old. The relationship between the incidence of a second breast cancer and the changes in IGF-I plasma levels will be assessed in order to validate IGF-I as a surrogate end point of contralateral breast cancer. The preliminary results of other studies on the effects of 4-HPR on tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA), plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1), and urokinase plasminogen activator (uk-PA) and on the relevance of circulating p53 antibodies with relapse will be also presented.

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