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Exp Cell Res. 1983 Oct;148(1):21-30.

Effects of retinoic acid (RA) on the growth and phenotypic expression of several human neuroblastoma cell lines.


It has been shown that retinoic acid (RA) can promote morphologic differentiation and inhibit the growth of a human neuroblastoma cell line, LA-N-1. The present study tests the histological generality of these phenomena by determining the effects of RA on seven other human neuroblastoma cell lines. Results show that RA strongly inhibited anchorage-dependent growth and induced morphologic alterations in six of seven of the cell lines. These alternations included morphologic differentiation as evidenced by formation of neurite extensions in four of the lines, cellular enlargement and vacuolization in one culture, and formation of large, flattened epithelial or fibroblastic-like cells in another culture. Although one cell line was relatively insensitive to the effects of RA in monolayer culture, all seven were strongly inhibited by RA in soft agar assays. Cellular RA-binding proteins were detected in 2/2 lines tested. These findings suggest that, as a histological group, human neuroblastoma cells are extremely sensitive to RA-induced growth inhibition and morphological alterations generally associated with reduced expression of the malignant phenotype of this type of cancer.

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