Metabolic characteristics of 13-cis-retinoic acid (isotretinoin) and anti-tumour activity of the 13-cis-retinoic acid metabolite 4-oxo-13-cis-retinoic acid in neuroblastoma

Poonam Sonawane, Hwang Eui Cho, Ashujit Tagde, Dattesh Verlekar, Alice L. Yu, C. Patrick Reynolds, Min H. Kang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

23 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background and Purpose Isotretinoin (13-cis-retinoic acid; 13-cRA) is a differentiation inducer used to treat minimal residual disease after myeloablative therapy for high-risk neuroblastoma. However, more than 40% of children develop recurrent disease during or after 13-cRA treatment. The plasma concentrations of 13-cRA in earlier studies were considered subtherapeutic while 4-oxo-13-cis-RA (4-oxo-13-cRA), a metabolite of 13-cRA considered by some investigators as inactive, were greater than threefold higher than 13-cRA. We sought to define the metabolic pathways of 13-cRA and investigated the anti-tumour activity of its major metabolite, 4-oxo-13-cRA. Experimental Approach Effects of 13-cRA and 4-oxo-13-cRA on human neuroblastoma cell lines were assessed by DIMSCAN and flow cytometry for cell proliferation, MYCN down-regulation by reverse transcription PCR and immunoblotting, and neurite outgrowth by confocal microscopy. 13-cRA metabolism was determined using tandem MS in human liver microsomes and in patient samples. Key Results Six major metabolites of 13-cRA were identified in patient samples. Of these, 4-oxo-13-cRA was the most abundant, and 4-oxo-13-cRA glucuronide was also detected at a higher level in patients. CYP3A4 was shown to play a major role in catalysing 13-cRA to 4-oxo-13-cRA. In human neuroblastoma cell lines, 4-oxo-13-cRA and 13-cRA were equi-effective at inducing neurite outgrowth, inhibiting proliferation, decreasing MYCN mRNA and protein, and increasing the expression of retinoic acid receptor-β mRNA and protein levels. Conclusions and Implications We showed that 4-oxo-13-cRA is as active as 13-cRA against neuroblastoma cell lines. Plasma levels of both 13-cRA and 4-oxo-13-cRA should be evaluated in pharmacokinetic studies of isotretinoin in neuroblastoma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5330-5344
Number of pages15
JournalBritish Journal of Pharmacology
Volume171
Issue number23
DOIs
StatePublished - 01 12 2014

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© 2014 The British Pharmacological Society.

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