Enhanced anti-neuroblastoma activity of a fenretinide complexed form after intravenous administration

Roberta Carosio, Vito Pistoia, Isabella Orienti, Franca Formelli, Elena Cavadini, Salvatore Mangraviti, Paolo G. Montaldo, Emanuela Ognio, Laura Emionite, Guendalina Zuccari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives The major limitation to successful chemotherapy of neuroblastoma (NB) is the toxicity and the poor bioavailability of traditional drugs. Methods We synthesised an amphiphilic dextrin derivative (DX-OL) able to host fenretinide (4-HPR) by complexation. In this study, we have investigated the effects of 4-HPR-loaded amphipilic dextrin (DX-OL/4-HPR) in comparison with 4-HPR alone both in vitro on human NB cells and in vivo in pseudometastatic NB models. The haemolysis assay was used as a measure of the potential damage caused by the pharmaceutical formulation in vivo. Pharmacokinetic experiments were performed to assess drug plasma levels in mice treated with free or complexed 4-HPR. Key findings DX-OL/4-HPR exerted a more potent cytotoxic activity on NB cells. Complexed 4-HPR significantly increased the proportion of sub-G1 cells with respect to free 4-HPR. Dextrin derivatives showed no haemolytic activity, indicating their suitability for parenteral administration. DX-OL/4-HPR increased the lifespan and the long-term survival of treated mice over controls. The analysis of drug plasma levels indicates that the complexed drug has a higher AUC due to a reduced clearance from the blood. Conclusions Our data suggest that DX-OL/4-HPR is an injectable formulation that is able to improve drug aqueous solubility and bioavailability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)228-236
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012


  • amphiphilic dextrin derivatives
  • fenretinide
  • neuroblastoma
  • pharmacokinetic and therapeutic experiments

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science


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