N-(4-Hydroxyphenyl)retinamide increases dihydroceramide and synergizes with dimethylsphingosine to enhance cancer cell killing.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Fenretinide [N-(4-hydroxyphenyl)retinamide (4-HPR)] is cytotoxic in many cancer cell types. Studies have shown that elevation of ceramide species plays a role in 4-HPR cytotoxicity. To determine 4-HPR activity in a multidrug-resistant cancer cell line as well as to study ceramide metabolism, MCF-7/AdrR cells (redesignated NCI/ADR-RES) were treated with 4-HPR and sphingolipids were analyzed. TLC analysis of cells radiolabeled with [3H]palmitic acid showed that 4-HPR elicited a dose-responsive increase in radioactivity migrating in the ceramide region of the chromatogram and a decrease in cell viability. Results from liquid chromatography/electrospray tandem mass spectrometry revealed large elevations in dihydroceramides (N-acylsphinganines), but not desaturated ceramides, and large increases in complex dihydrosphingolipids (dihydrosphingomyelins, monohexosyldihydroceramides), sphinganine, and sphinganine 1-phosphate. To test the hypothesis that elevation of sphinganine participates in the cytotoxicity of 4-HPR, cells were treated with the sphingosine kinase inhibitor d-erythro-N,N-dimethylsphingosine (DMS), with and without 4-HPR. After 24 h, the 4-HPR/DMS combination caused a 9-fold increase in sphinganine that was sustained through +48 hours, decreased sphinganine 1-phosphate, and increased cytotoxicity. Increased dihydrosphingolipids and sphinganine were also found in HL-60 leukemia cells and HT-29 colon cancer cells treated with 4-HPR. The 4-HPR/DMS combination elicited increased apoptosis in all three cell lines. We propose that a mechanism of 4-HPR-induced cytotoxicity involves increases in dihydrosphingolipids, and that the synergy between 4-HPR and DMS is associated with large increases in cellular sphinganine. These studies suggest that enhanced clinical efficacy of 4-HPR may be realized through regimens containing agents that modulate sphingoid base metabolism.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Wang, H; Maurer, BJ; Liu, Y-Y; Wang, E; Allegood, JC; Kelly, S; Symolon, H; Liu, Y; Merrill, AH; Gouazé-Andersson, V; Yu, JY; Giuliano, AE; Cabot, MC

Published Date

  • September 2008

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 7 / 9

Start / End Page

  • 2967 - 2976

PubMed ID

  • 18790777

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1535-7163

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-08-0549


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States