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Curr Oncol Rep. 2000 Nov;2(6):511-8.

Differentiating agents in pediatric malignancies: retinoids in neuroblastoma.

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Division of Hematology-Oncology, Children's Hospital of Los Angeles and The University of Southern California School of Medicine, 4650 Sunset Boulevard. Los Angeles, CA 90054-0700, USA.


Retinoids are derivatives of vitamin A that include all- trans-retinoic acid (ATRA), 13-cis-retinoic acid, (13-cis-RA), and fenretinide (4-HPR). High levels of either ATRA or 13-cis-RA can cause arrest of cell growth and morphologic differentiation of human neuroblastoma cell lines. Phase I trials have shown that higher and more sustained drug levels were obtained with 13-cis-RA relative to ATRA. A phase III randomized trial showed that high-dose pulse therapy with 13-cis-RA given after completion of intensive chemoradiotherapy (with or without autologous bone marrow transplantation) significantly improves event-free survival in high-risk neuroblastoma. Because 4-HPR achieves multi-log cell kills in neuroblastoma cell lines that are resistant to ATRA and 13-cis-RA, a pediatric phase I trial is in progress to determine the maximum tolerated dose of 4-HPR, with a view toward giving 4-HPR after completion of myeloablative therapy and 13-cis-RA.

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