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[Retinoid metabolism and cancer]

Parisotto M, Brodeur H, Bhat PV, Mader S

Département de biochimie et Institut de recherche en immunologie et cancérologie, Université de Montréal, CP 6128, succursale Centre-ville, Montréal (Québec), H3C 3J7 Canada.

Retinoids play important roles in cell differentiation and apoptosis, notably in epithelial tissues. Their utility in cancer therapy has been demonstrated in specific cancer types. Use of retinoic acid (RA) in the treatment of acute promyelocytic leukemia was the first successful example of retinoid-based differentiation therapy. RA has since been evaluated for treatment of other cancers, revealing variable effectiveness. The observation that expression of enzymes involved in RA biosynthesis is suppressed during tumorigenesis suggests that intra-tumor depletion in RA levels may contribute to tumor development and argues for the use of retinoids in cancer treatment. However, the induction of RA-inactivating enzymes is one of the mechanisms that may limit the efficacy of retinoid therapy and contribute to acquired resistance to RA treatment, suggesting that retinoic acid metabolism blocking agents may be effective agents in differentiation therapy.

Med Sci (Paris) 2006;22(12):1101-6.

Pubmed ID: 17156733

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