Fenretinide (4-HPR): A preventive chance for women at genetic and familial risk?

Massimiliano Cazzaniga, Clara Varricchio, Chiara Montefrancesco, Irene Feroce, Aliana Guerrieri-Gonzaga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The incidence and mortality of breast cancer have been recently influenced by several new therapeutic strategies. In particular our knowledge on cancer precursors, risk biomarkers, and genetics has considerably increased, and prevention strategies are being successfully explored. Since their discovery, retinoids, the natural and synthetic derivatives of vitamin A, have been known to play a crucial role in cell and tissue differentiation and their ability to inhibit carcinogenesis has made them the ideal chemopreventive agents studied in several preclinical and clinical trials. Fenretinide (4-HPR) is the most studied retinoid in breast cancer chemoprevention clinical trials due to its selective accumulation in breast tissue and its favorable toxicological profile. This agent showed a significative reduction of the incidence of second breast tumors in premenopausal women confirmed after 15-year followups. Considering Fenretinide protective action, a similar trend on ovarian cancer, this drug warrants reevaluations as a preventive agent for high-risk young women, such as BRCA-1 and 2 mutation carriers or with a high familial risk. This favorable effect therefore provides a strong rationale for a primary prevention trial in these unaffected cohort of women.

Original languageEnglish
Article number172897
JournalJournal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
Publication statusPublished - 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Medicine(all)


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