Send to

Choose Destination
Anticancer Res. 2000 Sep-Oct;20(5A):3059-66.

In vitro effects of fenretinide on cell-matrix interactions.

Author information

Istituto Nazionale per la Ricerca sul Cancro, Genova-Biotechnology Satellite Unit, Bologna, Italy.



Understanding the molecular basis of the metastatic spread of cancer and the underlying mechanisms is crucial for the development and appropriate clinical use of novel therapeutic agents directed at prevention of metastasis. Retinoids have been reported to inhibit cell proliferation, modulate cell differentiation, enhance apoptosis and to prevent the conversion of in situ cancer to locally invasive malignancy by suppressing the invasive process as well as by inhibiting angiogenesis. Fenretinide (4-HPR), a synthetic derivative of retinoic acid, is less toxic than natural retinoids and is active in the prevention and treatment of a variety of tumours in animal models. Its efficacy in cancer chemoprevention and therapy has been investigated in clinical trials.


In order to evaluate the effects of 4-HPR on the late stages of tumour progression, chemically transformed BALB/c 3T3 cells, showing a fully malignant phenotype, were exposed to 4-HPR (0.25-10 microM; 72 hours pre-treatment) and then analysed for in vitro invasive ability. The possible mechanisms of action responsible for the anti-invasive activity of 4-HPR were investigated, analysing cellular adhesion, motility, and proteolytic capability.


Data showed that 4-HPR significantly inhibited the invasive phenotype of chemically transformed cells; the reduction in Matrigel invasion was dose-dependent and seemed not to be related to cytotoxic effects or reduction in cell proliferation rates induced by 4-HPR assayed doses. The 4-HPR-induced decrease in chemotactic motility of transformed cells correlated well with the invasion inhibition. 4-HPR, at active concentrations, differently affected cell adhesion to the extracellular matrix, depending on the coating substrate used (laminin, collagen IV, fibronectin and vitronectin). 4-HPR treatment significantly enhanced cell adhesion to laminin, while reducing cell-vitronectin attachment. It did not modify the attachment of the cells to fibronectin and collagen IV. Zymographic analysis failed to demonstrate 4-HPR involvement in the modulation of the activity and expression of gelatine degrading enzymes.


These data suggest that 4-HPR inhibits tumour cell invasion through a basement-like matrix, by suppressing chemotactic motility and by altering cell-matrix interactions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center