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Int J Cancer. 1997 Sep 4;72(5):906-11.

Arotinoid mofarotene (RO40-8757) up-regulates p21 and p27 during growth inhibition of pancreatic cancer cell lines.

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Second Department of Internal Medicine, Shinshu University School of Medicine, Matsumoto, Japan.


Effective chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer is urgently needed. The anti-proliferative activity of a new retinoid, mofarotene (RO40-8757), was compared with that of other retinoids, such as all trans-retinoic acid, 13-cis retinoic acid and 9-cis retinoic acid, on 9 pancreatic cancer cell lines in relation to the effects on various cell cycle-regulating factors. After treatment with each retinoid, anti-proliferative effect was determined by the MTT method and expression of cell cycle-regulating factors, such as cyclins (D1, E and A), cyclin-dependent kinases (2 and 4), cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors (p21 and p27) and retinoblastoma protein, was analyzed by Western blotting. Mofarotene showed half-maximal inhibition of cell proliferation at concentrations between 0.14 x 10(-6) and 3.8 x 10(-6) mol/l with little cytotoxicity. In contrast, the other retinoids did not inhibit the growth of all cell lines by over 50% compared to controls. A marked increase in the fraction of cells in G1 phase of the cell cycle was observed after mofarotene treatment; this was associated with marked up-regulation of p21/p27 and a shift of retinoblastoma protein into the hypophosphorylated form. In conclusion, mofarotene inhibits the growth of pancreatic cancer cells by inducing G1-phase cell cycle-inhibitory factors (p21, p27 and hypophosphorylated form of Rb protein) and is considered to be a useful agent for pancreatic cancer treatment.

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